End of the Internet…not likely

The FCC announced that Net Neutrality is going to be the law of the land. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin announced to the dismay of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the guy who said the internet is a series of tubes, and to the telecoms that commission will not challenge net neutrality.

In response AT&T has announced that the internet is coming to an end. We’ve reached capacity in the United States. Let’s all go home.

Blame broadband, says AT&T. Decades of dealing with the trickle of bandwidth consumed by voice and dialup modems left AT&T twiddling its thumbs. The massive rise of DSL and cable modem service in the 2000s has had AT&T facing a monstrous increase in the volume of data transmissions. And that’s set to increase another 50 times between now and 2015. That’s enough, says AT&T, to all but crash the system. 

I call bullshit. The internet is not coming to an end, it’s not reaching capacity, it’s AT&T and other trying to control the internet, end net neutrality and make users pay for the bandwidth and then charge users more and more to connect to the net. 

Comcast was busted for cutting peer-to-peer activities (although during the net neutrality debate, telecoms promised they would NEVER censor the internet) and now AT&T is saying the internet is running out of room. Interesting that just a few days after Martin announces that the FCC won’t challenge net neutrality, that AT&T says the sky is falling. We’re talking about a year and a half’s worth of warning? They didn’t know this was happening sooner? There’s nothing they can do but throw their hands in the air and say thanks for the memories? Sure.

Check out the “story” here. 


5 Responses to End of the Internet…not likely

  1. Alexi says:

    Not to rain on your parade, but you do realize that laying out that Comcast has invested over 50 billion dollars in cable internet, right?

    Net neutrality is not the same as metered internet. Net neutrality is preventing discrimination and blocking access to websites. Metering and charging for bandwidth use is not in opposition of neutrality, it’s just basic economics of charging those the marginal cost of their usage.

    Or do you have the opinion that Comcast and ATT have been cheap by only investing billions of dollars?

    Don’t mean to sound abrupt, but the simple fact is, when it’s other people’s capital involved, it’s easy to demand more and more.

  2. Thanks for your comment. The key word in your statement is invested. These companies are reaping large rewards for being the only access points to the internet. These telecos face almost zero competition for their investment and users pay to access the internet. For example, how many choices do you have to connect to the net? In my apartment complex for example, I have only one choice to connect to the internet. It’s a virtual monopoly.

    It doesn’t make sense for asking users to pay to connect and then charge content providers to pay to be on the internet. Companies such as Google (and their video player YouTube) and other heavily trafficked websites pay enormous costs for servers and more. Like the telecoms, the content providers are also investing billions to provide sites. Asking users to pay and content providers to pay is a great way for the telecoms to get get two bites of the apple.

  3. Alexi says:

    But you’re right, the key word is invested. You invest to get a rate of return on your capital. You don’t invest altruistically so that everyone can reap the benefits of the internet.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know what you mean about having open access internet and the importance of that. But you also have to look at it from an objective point of view. A decade ago nobody but them had the foresight to start laying the foundations and investing massive amounts of capital into broadband. And now, of course, they’re reaping the benefits of their foresight. That’s capitalism and it’s exactly what drives innovation and amazing things like the internet.

    You’re right, more competition is required. But the competition is only required to prevent discrimination from access to content, not the use of bandwidth. Bittorrent protocols are voracious in their bandwidth use hey do in fact affect the internet and experience of other users. That’s why network management policies throttle.

    But the beauty of capitalism is that someone will come up with something that will provide options that accomodate all types of internet users. Competition, profits (and losses), will sort it out, and in the end the consumers will win.

  4. Alexi says:

    Here’s another way to think of it:

    Imagine you’re the CEO of Comcast back in 1995 and the FCC comes to you and says, “You can go ahead and invest billions in tech, pipes, R&D, but if you do come up with something innovative that transforms the world, we’re going to prevent you from reaping first-mover profits.”

    Seriously, try to put yourself in that position. And realize that you’d be a fool to go ahead and invest and innovate. And if that had been the case, we might not have cable internet.

    You need the incentive to “reap large rewards” as you say to spark plug these sort of things. And just like it spark plugged Comcast or ATT, it’ll sparkplug someone else as well in the near future to innovate the internet even further (I mean, look at Google! It’s trading at $500 a share!)

  5. No one is accessing the internet for free. In the early days when users were connecting via phone lines users were paying their ISP to connect. When users got off the phone lines and on to the broadband, users are paying telecos to connect. This connection fee is hardly an altruistic action. The United States lags behind more than a dozen countries in speed of connectivity and until all users have access to the internet, the digital divide still haunts this country. The telecoms generally fight community wifi.

    As for Google trading in the $500 range, it’s not because of popularity because Yahoo sites have more visits than Google, and it trades in the $28 range. Google changed the way billions of ads are served and that’s where the reward comes from. And Google shells out untold millions (if not more) to make sure their sites are always humming.

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