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Net neutrality vote: Why all the fuss? Here's my simple fix

Yes, the end of net neutrality is here and everyone has an opinion, statement, or some scenario. The reality is we're just caught in the middle of a Goliath vs Goliath power struggle.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Video: Net neutrality explained with beer

The Federal Communications Commission repealed the previous net neutrality rules by a vote of 3-2, and now, the histrionics may begin. What people should ponder is how we're all merely in the middle of a pissing match between elephants.

Oh, the statements are flooding the inbox. The FCC advanced competition and restored internet freedom. (Um, OK.) The FCC will destroy the internet. (Um, OK.) OMG, my 10 hours of binge-watching Netflix may be over. We've even heard that the net neutrality vote will be a midterm election issue -- as if binge-watching types are going to get off the couch long enough to vote.

Read also: FCC votes to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules | CNET: FCC neuters net neutrality

You know what's going to happen? Probably not much. First, let's ditch the midterm election issue now. No network-throttling ISP worth a damn is going to curb your streaming before the midterms due to the risk involved. So, the fun will really begin November 2018, if we actually remember anything about net neutrality by then.

Here's the reality as I see it.

  • I understand the argument that ISPs that have spent billions of dollars on their networks have a right to charge fees and manage bandwidth.
  • I also understand that killing net neutrality may hurt that next-gen startup that'll become the next Google or Facebook.
  • Then again, I also understand that the scale of the alleged heroes in this net neutrality debate can squash (or at least buy) any small company that has some capital and a dream.
  • And, finally, I get that the carriers are dwarfed in market value by the companies that have arguably received a free network ride.

Add it up and one corner has the has-beens (Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, wireless, and wired telecom providers portrayed to be more dominant than they are), and in the other corner are even more powerful giants (Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Netflix) that really hold the whoop ass.

Forgive me if I'm not going to get wound up either way, because I realize I'm just collateral damage between massive interests.

My bet: Nothing is going to happen just because the FCC repealed a two-year old net neutrality framework. Why? 1) ISPs don't have the clout to pull Netflix or those social services you use the most. 2) These ISPs do want to bundle their own content services, but there's nothing wrong with that. 3) The little company that was supposed to be protected by net neutrality would be screwed no matter what by all sides of this debate anyway.

Here's the net neutrality fix: The giants for net neutrality should just buy the carriers against it. Alphabet and Apple could simply split the ISPs and call it a net neutrality day. Now, this outcome wouldn't happen because providing internet service lacks the profit margins currently enjoyed by things like text ads and the iPhone, but the math makes some sense. To wit:

  • Alphabet market cap: $923.6B
  • Apple market cap: $884.3B
  • Amazon; $565B
  • Facebook: $520.7B


  • Verizon: $214.5B
  • AT&T: $233.1B
  • Comcast: $184B

Let's go shopping in the name of net neutrality.


Trump's FCC kills net neutrality, opening internet 'fast lanes' to ISPs (TechRepublic)

Obama-era rules have been repealed, in a controversial move that could allow internet service providers to prioritize certain content.

California, Washington and NY take action after net neutrality vote (CNET)

Lawmakers from the three states say they will fight to preserve net neutrality after FCC votes down Obama-era rules.

Net neutrality: The eve of destruction

To no one's surprise, President Donald Trump and Chairman Ajit Pai's FCC has killed net neutrality, and we must live with the ugliness that will follow.

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