How a Non-Neutral Net Could Benefit You

We do not know what a non-Neutral Internet would look like. It might
actually benefit most activist or nonprofit organizations. Here is how that *might* happen...

First of all the internet is already NOT neutral. Corporations already use Content Distribution Networks to distribute multiple identical copies of their content around the globe. When you visit Google or Facebook you are getting content from the server that is nearest you. They pay for this privilege. As they also pay extra to use dedicated servers (with faster response times and more uptime) while many nonprofits are using cheap shared hosting plans.

We do know that corporations would target the main users of bandwidth who do are unable to pay for the privilege of running at top priority. They would clearly hit the, primarily illegal, file sharers first and hard.

Other major users of bandwidth are people watching videos online. Youtube, Netflix and other websites would cough up the money to ensure that their sites run at top priority. This would make Netflix members, like myself, pay for our fair share of bandwidth usage. Youtube users would, unfortunately, get more ads.

Activist websites that use video might get hurt - if they host the video on their own site (many host it on youtube), if they host enough video to make a big difference, if their webhosting company does not have a blanket agreement that ensures that all of its customers get top priority, and if the internet is actually overloaded (aka during peak evening hours).

Activist websites that do not use video would benefit from getting greater priority than the file sharers.

If we have a non-neutral net, it will still mean that the amount of bandwidth is rapidly increasing. It might have the largest impact on wireless internet where bandwidth is going to hit a limit once it has used up most of the radio spectrum (the TV spectrum from the analog to digital transition is going to be used for this, and after that is gone spectrum gets harder to find/re-allocate). Not surprisingly the Google/Verizon proposed deal would have a neutral wired net and non-neutral wireless one.

Wireless internet will be the most overloaded in dense cities - and that is where we'll see the restrictions first. Do you want your requests to Google Maps for directions to be competing with people watching high definition video?

My residential internet wired service often slows down in the evening. I like to work in the evening. Losing Net Neutrality could mean that my file transfering, opening my browser to check changes to my website, my surfing for information, and other tasks are faster.