Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Net Neutrality: The Hidden Agenda

Now here is an issue that should be cast out of the shadows right now. The raging debate on net neutrality has nothing to do with about half of what both news and broadband providers are currently talking about. The basic arguement, that they have the right to charge more (or anything at all) for internet content delivery to end users has very little to do with any monies they may collect through this process. The real deal here is the coming war over major changes in the way we watch/listen/read media. Currently most people watch cable TV in order to get their daily fix of news and other programs. But that's all about to change, and in ways that the cable companies are starting to become very afraid of. You see, people are starting to use high speed broadband connections to download and watch major shows using services that allow you to only view (and pay for) just what you want. Let me make this very clear, THIS IS HUGE. This completely cuts out the cable providers from delivering TV to homes AND gives consumers what they have been asking for, a-la-carte programming, making this a very large threat indeed. The issue is such a hot potato that even opposing media forces are getting into the mix!

So, what's a typical cable company to do....well, what just about every established media company or sector tries when confonted with a major technological shift that threatens an established buisness model, they try to block it. In this case they are attempting to gain the right to restrict what goes through cable modem connections. Make no mistake, this is the first logical step towards blocking or greatly restricting VOD (video on demand) services such as Apple iTunes and many others. Loss of access to this technology would force consumers to continue to pay the inflated cable TV prices , something I think we all would like to avoid.

UPDATE: Caught this on Ars Technica and found it very amusing.


At 4:44 PM, Blogger Intergalactic Hussy said...

If cable providers were smart they'd start offering reasonably priced indivual channels. But that's a big "if".

I'm just hoping that the internet will not become like cable or worse. Not being able to watch, listen, or view content on the internet because (oh let's say) it's a competitor's product or service.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger Robert Rittmuller said...

That's exactly the danger of letting them gain the right to limit access through local broadband pipes. I would rather force media/cable companies to innovate through competition vs. letting them maintain the status quo.

My biggest fear is that the power of choice (services like iTunes) will be squashed before they can really get going if these tactics are not rejected early on. :(


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