Let’s imagine that the Internet is composed of a series of tubes (the analogy is not mine; I’ve been reading about it for a while in the United States). Information, videos, emails and even ads pass through these “tubes.” Logically, building these “tubes” is not cheap. The four main “tube” operators in the United States — the telephone companies AT&T and Verizon and the cable television infrastructure companies Comcast and Time Warner — spent almost 110 billion euros on infrastructure. The content companies spent very little. This affects Google, Apple, Netflix (video downloads online), Cisco and the big television stations that are putting more programs online every day.
This is what the Federal Communications Commission’s decision is about. The decision is basically a copy of Verizon and Google’s proposal. Fundamentally, the FCC declares that:
1) No Internet provider can prohibit user access to any webpage (if the page is legal, of course).
2) However, if a company wants to make games, movies or other types of content that uses a lot of bandwidth available to its user, it can make them special offers — higher speed for higher cost.
3) In addition, it can charge more to the clients who download this content the most.
The decision is evenhanded. It is an attempt to not overwhelm network providers, while at the same time charge the companies that deliver content or software online more.
However, what it hides is equally important, especially because it does not apply to wireless Internet, which leaves out Internet connections from many laptops, from cell phones and panels such as the iPad, which is the sector with the most growth. This is due to the fact that telephone companies will need to invest a lot more in order to deal with the avalanche of wireless data coming down on top of us.
Because of this, the FCC is sanctioning an agreement between the companies: The telephone companies and the cable and network companies can charge everyone (providers and consumers) more for new services, but not for current ones.
In any case, here you have an argument in favor of neutrality, another totally against it and an analysis of the FCC’s decision. Now, you decide.