Why Net Neutrality Matters For Big Data Apps

Politics bother me. I’m glad we’re past another election, but of course that just means the politicians will now begin fundraising and campaigning for 2016. In the interim, we can expect to see a lot more of the partisan bickering, but not much of the underhanded lobbying that nonetheless dominates policy.

One political issue that was hardly mentioned in the midterm election campaigns was . It’s a horrible term, but a critical concept.

The big ISPs will tell you that they need to charge more to support infrastructure investments, which essentially means that they won’t build better networks if they aren’t guaranteed monopolies to exploit. Where I live in the technology-focused Bay Area, we pay nearly $80 per month for cable Internet alone — no TV, no telephone, just network access. For that hefty fee, I get under 15 Mbps download speeds; that’s about $5.33 per megabit per second.

Compare this to other regions of the world, and you see it’s about 50% worse than the EU average, and more than double the UK. So, American consumers are definitely not getting good value today.

By the way, there isn’t any viable alternative: satellite, DSL, and wireless offerings have even worse speed/dollar ratios. No one else can offer the same infrastructure for the connection, so yes, that’s a monopoly. What’s the industry’s proposed solution? Let’s give the ISPs the ability to selectively charge more!

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