A peek at the internet without net neutrality (*updated*)

April 22nd, 2010

As you can see from the graphic below, internet accessibility is limited to cable tv-type packages. Would you want to pay an extra $5 a month to access Facebook? Then another $5 for Google? And an additional $5 to play WoW (plus additional hidden fees for usable bandwidth)? What they’ll probably do is allow you to add on these “extras,” or give you the option to purchase some “all-included” package with somewhat appropriate bandwidth and access to everywhere you want to go online. This will definitely be a premium package, costing significantly more than you already pay. For the exact same thing.

The shite thing is this is already happening. This is why we need net neutrality. Some ISP’s, particularly where there may be no competition (rural areas, small towns), are charging ridiculous rates for limited bandwidth. This is absolute bollocks because there are tons of things you can do legally that requires a lot of bandwidth, but if you max out your bandwidth allowance, it’ll start costing by the MB. Unfair.

And one more thing, you should understand the basic definition of bandwidth. “Bandwidth” is used two ways: 1) to refer to your connection speed, and 2) to refer to your maximum transfer allowance. Without net neutrality, you’re getting screwed on both.

1) In regards to speed, they’ll slow down your connection to sites they don’t want you to visit. This could mean standard p2p sites, as well as any sites with which they’re not contracted. (Refer to my previous post for an example.) That’s like saying you’re paying for a cable internet connection, but they intentionally slow you down to 28.8k at their leisure — but only to competing sites. Of course, I know that is a simplification, but it’s the main idea.

2) In regards to transfers, you’ll likely be much more limited in how much data you upload/download. Think of 3G cell phone plans. Even “unlimited” data plans have some kind of cap, usually. You can only download so much stuff before you get a nice letter in the mail telling you to stop. Most internet providers already monitor your bandwidth usage, and if it seems like you’re downloading/uploading too much, they’ll notify you. But in theory, you’re still *allowed* to do this. There’s no cap. It just has to be legal.

Without net neutrality, your internet provider may put a cap on your bandwidth usage, period. If you max it out, they’ll start charging by the MB, like cell phone plans. Or they’ll slow you down significantly. Then, they’ll encourage you to buy a more expensive “premium” or “corporate” package with “unlimited” bandwidth. And peering websites will be a no-no regardless — nevermind that p2p can be used perfectly legally.

Here’s what the very near future could look like:

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