One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
Latest posts by Seton Motley (see all)
The Washington, D.C.-New York Bubble has a decidedly skewed view of what constitutes things like “Tech” and “The Internet.” The Bubble references Tech or the Internet, and they mean companies like Google and Facebook, Netflix and Uber – and only those types of companies. This is a ridiculously partial, partisan perspective.
Because before you can search the Web or stream some ‘Flix – you must first connect to the Internet. And that requires an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Companies like Comcast and Verizon, Clear Channel and AT&T. Without whom – Google, Facebook, Netflix and Uber would still be…absolutely nowhere.
Netflix is a quintessential example of these titans’ irrelevance without ISPs. Just a few years ago, Netflix was a snail-mail DVD delivery company – and struggling to survive. But the ISPs relentlessly kept up their massive investment and technological advancement. And the download speeds they deliver increased to such routinely high levels that Netflix could confidently sell their streaming movie service – “Over The Top (OTT)” of those screamingly fast Internet lines.
Boom – Netflix became a giant. In fact, it is predicted that there will by 2019 be 330+ million streaming video customers. All made possible – in fact, impossible without – the ISPs.
But in The Bubble, being an essential ISP – is just about a totally thankless task. ISPs are the people who lay the World Wide Web roads – on which all these Bubble “Internet” companies ride. Yet somehow in The Bubble – ISPs aren’t even considered to be Internet companies.
Heck, the “Internet Association” – doesn’t have a single ISP as a member. The “Internet Association” is made up of ISP-reliant Riders. Who joined together in an “Internet Association” to lobby DC for crony policies that favor them – and cripple ISPs. And thereby – we consumers.
Policies like the ridiculously dumb Network Neutrality. Massive bandwidth hogs like Google and Netflix (who by themselves combined represent more than half of all US Web traffic) get to use as much bandwidth as they want – and ISPs are prohibited by Net Neutrality from charging them a penny for any of it.
Being unable to charge these massive bandwidth hogs for being massive bandwidth hogs, ISPs are forced to make up the debilitating difference by raising prices on the only other people in the room – We the Customers.
Get that? Net Neutrality forces us to pay higher prices – to augment the profits of the likes of Google and Netflix.
Are the Web-Rider-members of the “Internet Association” in favor of Net Neutrality? You bet. Are Google and Netflix members of the “Internet Association?” You bet.
Wait a sec – did you get THAT? ISPs save Netflix from snail-mail-business-oblivion. And Netflix repays the ISPs’ kindness – by having government shove pro-Netflix-Net-Neutrality-cronyism down their throats. In The Bubble, no good deed goes unpunished.
The Bubble systematically ignores the mind-warping technological advancements ISPs make. Worse, the Bubble expects ISPs to continue the massive investments of money, time and effort – to continue these incredible gains in perpetuity. No matter with how many titanically stupid “Internet Association”-esque Web-Riders-cronyism policies DC slams them.
That’s bizarre Bubble thinking. Here in Reality…
Further threatening We the Customers with higher prices. And threatening the miraculous Tech advancements ISPs have consistently delivered us. Ever-increasing speeds – at ever-diminishing prices.
Contrast that with, say, a more government-centric-Net-Neutrality-esque policy.
The Bubble Media, for it’s part, remains a clown show joke. To wit – the (Dis)Associated Press:
So much wrongness packed into one headline.
What is actually happening under Trump is: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will stop issuing – in Pez Dispenser fashion – anti-lawful, pro-Web-Rider cronyism.
And ISPs are “the industry” – but massive companies like Google, Netflix, Facebook and Uber are not? How tortured is that logic?
And here’s some more really bizarre Bubble thinking:
No, Clown Show. It was the FCC’s anti-legal, all-encompassing uber-regulations that were radical. Undoing radical – isn’t radical at all. And the faster – the better.
The hub of the Internet wheel – are the ISPs. All the Googles and Netflixes – are simply spokes. The Bubble spent the last eight years pretending we could hollow out the hub – and it wouldn’t hurt the wheel.
November’s election was an injection of Reality into The Bubble – and it has dramatically helped a lot of things. Including saving the Internet from a fate worse than Obamacare.
This doesn’t mean cronyism for ISPs – certainly not at the ridiculously high level the Web Riders spent the last eight years enjoying.
It means equal protection before, and equal treatment by, the law – for all members of the Internet ecosystem.
Which absolutely includes ISPs – Bubble delusions to the contrary notwithstanding.
[Originally Published at RedState]