Last week, the big news was about Congress voting on the Net Neutrality act, which the telecoms say is vital to keep the internet from having a total meltdown. One of the favorite targets of the lobbysts is Google. Why? Well, according to them, Google and other content providers are getting a “free ride”. For example, Mike McCurry had this to say:
But regulations pushed by Amazon, Google, eBay and the other companies would essentially prohibit data transfer arrangements between high-speed access providers and big content companies. The inevitable results: Companies pay less for the Internet’s build-out, consumers pay more and progress slows on providing affordable broadband.
But, and here’s the gotcha, consumers pay to go to Google.com, but Google pays for them to come. Yes, the one thing they neglect to mention is that Google, Amazon and other high-traffic sites pay for the outgoing bandwidth, making them a consumer as well.
But there’s something else in that story. Mike also says:
Data from a video or phone conversation has to be prioritized differently than data from a standard Web site access.
Which is a true statement. And if that is what the telecoms were truly after, it would be great. But if I choose not to use Time Warner High Speed Digital Cable Phone Service Internet Food Delivery And Movies (c), and instead just get internet and use Skype, Google, and order pizzas online, the telecoms shouldn’t have the right to downgrade my traffic. Which is exactly what would happen – traffic to Skype, and others like it, would be deprioritized in the name of “premium services”.
No thanks. I already have access to premium services – I can get a T1, or a connection with an SLA. So unless the priority traffic is going to be an open standard (all VoIP calls get prioritized, regardless of the carrier or service (or cost) by all service providers), I’d rather the chaos of the internet remain.
The sky isn’t falling, the internet isn’t melting down, and it’s not all Google’s fault. Maybe the telecoms should take instead a cue from Google and hire some engineers who can actually come up with solutions instead of just laying blame.