Net neutrality is a hoax.
The American public is about to be fleeced once again by their elected officials, government appointees (The FCC) and big business.
Passage of net neutrality rules by the FCC yesterday paves the way for years of legal battles and uncertainty as technology again leads the way for new media and the public gets shut out.
In a nutshell net neutrality would guarantee that Internet providers would be prevented from interfering with web traffic.
But the proposed rules might accomplish that goal for some forms of Internet access but not others. And all of a sudden free speech has given way to something more important to Internet service providers as it appears the FCC has sold out to AT&T and Verizon.
For the first time these giant providers would be able to charge more to companies and individuals that want faster service or more capability for delivery of video, games and other services prompting Senator Al Franken to comment, "grassroots supporters of net neutrality are beginning to wonder if we've been had". Franken wondered aloud whether the proposal adopted by the FCC was "worse than nothing."
There are concerns that building in pricing capability for Internet service providers to charge more for better service will create an unfair advantage to others. The analogy I heard recently is that if power companies dictated what appliances consumers could use by charging more for using some things and less for others, it would be an awful way to manage capacity and demand.
Yet that is precisely what is happening as The Obama Administration appears ready to renege on a promise the president made in 2008 with regard to making the Internet equally accessible to all.
While this argument takes place, more and more consumers will be using the mobile Internet and the devices that they love so much and yet the guarantees of neutrality may only apply in some ways to wired broadband and not mobile Internet.
Translation: your iPad may look like it is in your hands, but it will really be in the hands of Internet providers.
AT&T and Verizon have already introduced tiered pricing for the mobile Internet and Comcast is getting ready to jump in once they get federal approval to buy 51% of NBC Universal.
So you can see what a mess this is for consumers, new media content providers, advocates of free speech and those concerned with not creating a hierarchy of Internet access for only those able to pay.
There are major repercussions for – of all things – terrestrial radio, the medium left in the dust by iPhones, iPads, Androids and the entire mobile Internet.
Radio is free.
Anyone can access it relatively inexpensively, but consumers are turning away from radio for mobile Internet devices.
I’ve got an early look at a scenario where the greed of ISPs could actually help revive simple, terrestrial radio if it follows this game plan.