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Net Neutrality Argument Heats Up

The net neutrality battle is heating up and is already one of the top news items of the day today. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings can be found speaking out about the money the company now has to pay to some ISPs in order to insure smooth delivery of their video content to subscribers.

My concern though is more along the lines of how this impacts VoIP, Video conferencing and collaboration providers. As a heavy user of all three I have long been wondering if one day we’ll see the services such as Skype, WebEx, GoToMeeting and others being treated the same way as Netflix, before and after the toll costs.

Why is this a concern? Let’s start with the lack of choice of suppliers for Internet access, for one.  In almost all situations in the USA residential broadband users, even work at home types, have the choice of usually a cable operator, the local phone company or a wireless connection. 

And, in reality the choices are even more limited as the difference between the telco and cable operator in most markets isn’t really a choice. The cable company offers the better speeds, but the telco can sometimes bundle in wireless. While there may be some heavily concentrated areas where newly constructed high rise buildings are, the building manage may work with a private high=speed fiber provider but for residential home dwellers, its pretty much take it from either the cable company or the phone company.

Dan Rayburn has some thoughts on the subject, basically saying that Hastings and Level3 are still pulling punches, looking for someone else to throw more oil on the fire. To me, the issue is simple. More choices of broadband providers and limitations on what the incumbent in the ground giants can charge them. Once we have more options, we’ll have really receive better service.

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