Unless my family and I are living in an alternate Bizarro universe, it’s pretty clear that we all will soon be paying a lot more for our internet broadband connections and our internet choices will be throttled.
I say that because of the net neutrality battle going on right now, one the internet service providers (ISPs), and especially the cable providers who also provide television, think this is one they cannot afford to lose.
None of the ISPs want Netflix, Apple’s AppleTV, Google’s $35 Chromecast, or a service like Aereo to either continue to succeed or be in a good or better position to do so. Unless, of course, the ISPs are allowed to make the internet a toll road where only those who pay can get through or go fast.
If the cable companies and other ISPs “win” the net neutrality battle, our TV streaming options will collapse, we will all pay more for our internet connections, all while having to continue to pay “bundled” prices for cable TV channels we never watch.
AVERAGE BANDWIDTH USE?
As of November 2013, Comcast/Xfinity still claims that consumers don’t use much data saying, “XFINITY Internet customers’ median monthly data usage is 17 GB per month.” Seriously? Then my family and I must be unusual since we use our computers, iPads, iPhones, and streaming TV through AppleTVs or game consoles as much as many of our friends and neighbors. That said, HOLY CRAP! are we ever consuming data!
I simply cannot believe that, with all the digital devices out there in people’s hands consuming internet content and streaming video, that we’re all that atypical.
BUT WILL OUR INTERNET GET FASTER IF WE PAY MORE?
I think the answer is “no.”
While it is likely that ISPs like Comcast/Xfinity are waiting until the dust settles on net neutrality, once that happens I’m confident they’ll gleefully cap and throttle our bandwidth use and immediately charge any successful company delivering bandwidth-consuming services (like Netflix) big bucks to get on and use their networks.
Then they will charge you and I whatever they can for broadband and it will be a helluva lot more than we pay now.
This will happen even though our internet speeds in the United States are pretty much a joke. The cable companies want to protect their TV franchises and HATE that Netflix and others are doing so well, and know that if they make speeds faster it will only make their jobs harder to become the toll-gates on the internet.
The irony is these government-helped corporations (State & local municipalities greased the skids for cable companies decades ago so they could lay coax cable everywhere and build out their infrastructure) have become monopolies who could care less about giving consumers broadband that is at least as fast as what the New York Times said was available in the capital of Latvia or in Seoul, South Korea.