In what is not a surprising fact, over 78% of Americans have only two options of ISPs when it comes to land based broadband connections. In years gone by, when dial-up was the only option, most Americans had about a dozen choices to make if they had issues with one of the providers. But these days users are limited to the options they have and when an ISP cuts back on services, users may be stuck using the provider with little or no choice. Some 13% of consumers, according to the FCC, have only one land based option.
There was a time when we had hoped that city wide Wi-Fi, WiMAX, or electrical grid connections would offer more options, but these services have just about faded away. According to one recent article, the situation has further deteriorated when the FCC recently lost a court case against several major ISPs.
That brings us to the appeals court’s ruling that the FCC could not write net-neutrality regulations without prior congressional authorization (which also threatens the FCC’s plans to subsidize rural broadband service). The judgment makes legal sense but leaves Internet providers free to engage in such abuses as slowing customers’ access to legal sites and services — something Comcast was caught doing in 2007.
That is a problem, contrary to what you might hear. “Net neutrality” isn’t a concern just for freeloaders using BitTorrent file-sharing — a service with legitimate uses — and it’s not a government plot to control the Internet. It’s about ensuring that the one or two Internet providers in town can’t limit what you do on the Internet.
I am not a huge fan of government regulations when it comes to anything in our lives. But the reality is that big business has little concern about what we consumers want and more concern about squeezing every nickle from us. For those of you who support the theory of trickle down, I have to agree. Crap does run downhill. Unfortunately it is we consumers who are downhill. LOL
So what do you think the answer is?