The net neutrality debate should really boil down to one issue. Am I, as a consumer, getting what I paid for? The answer is NO!
Are we not paying for bandwidth?
Internet access is sold based on the speed of the connection. Not to pick on Time Warner but they are one of the opponents of net neutrality so they are fair game. A quick Google search finds their online rates:
From: http://www.timewarnercable.com/en/internet/internet-service-plans.html on 9/29/2014.
As a consumer, I am asked to purchase Internet service based on the speed of that service. If you click a button to see more details they do have a small disclaimer at the bottom stating that I may not get as much bandwidth as I have paid for.
OK, so according to TWC, and every other ISP, I am paying for bandwidth that I might or might not actually get. Knowing how the Internet works, protocol limitations, etc. keeps me from being upset about this. Put simply, no ISP can control every factor that affects bandwidth.
I should be able to choose how I use my bandwidth
So, I have bandwidth. How do I want to use it? Perhaps I want to download something using all my available bandwidth. Perhaps I want to browse the web while listening to some music online. Perhaps I don’t want to use any right now. Regardless, I paid for the bandwidth and should be able to use it all for whatever site I choose.
Looking at the terms of service, TWC doesn’t say they will limit the amount of bandwidth I use for any given site:
So, why can’t I get my bandwidth?
If I want to stream movies all day long, I should be able to do that. I paid for the bandwidth. I did not exceed my limits. They are selling me something and not allowing me to use it. How would we feel about other industries that did the same thing?
- $10/month for 200 texts but only one text a day to people that text a lot.
- $40 for two hours of babysitting but they only stay one hour if you use them regularly.
- $80 to clean your house but they start skipping rooms if you hire them more than once a month.
We would not stand for this from any other service, why do we take it from ISPs?
Give us what we pay for or change the way you sell it.
If you sell bandwidth, deliver bandwidth. If you don’t have the capacity to provide what your customers are paying for, increase your rates and improve your network. If you are worried about how the top 1% of customers using too much bandwidth, switch to a metered system like electricity or water. Do whatever it takes to actually deliver what people are paying for. Anything less should be, if it isn’t already, criminal.