10 Reasons Web Giants Want the FCC to Enforce Net Neutrality

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-05-09 Print this article Print

Some of the Internet's largest companies—including Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook—have issued a letter to the Federal Communications Commission to urge its chairman Tom Wheeler to support network neutrality. The companies argue that the FCC's support for net neutrality would ensure equal Web access for users while promoting competition among Web application providers, a major concern for those in the government who support the idea of a free and open Internet. It's not a surprise that major Web companies are so concerned about net neutrality. These are the companies that provide Web access to millions of users around the world. But they are also for-profit organizations concerned about keeping costs low and maximizing profits. But if Internet service providers, which are delivering Web bandwidth to individual users as well as the big Web application companies, get broad power to decide who will pay more for Web bandwidth and who will pay less, perhaps based on the types of Web services people want to access, then the concept of a free and open Web goes out the window. Seen from this point of view, it's clear why the big Web services companies have a vested interest in maintaining a strong net neutrality policy.

  • 10 Reasons Web Giants Want the FCC to Enforce Net Neutrality

    by Don Reisinger
    1 - 10 Reasons Web Giants Want the FCC to Enforce Net Neutrality
  • There's a Cost Involved

    Any erosion of the net neutrality policies that have been in place by default since the early days of the Web is virtually guaranteed to raise the price of providing services to customers. If major Web companies are delivering high-end services that take up a lot of bandwidth (for instance, Netflix, YouTube and other video-streaming companies), ISPs would naturally be encouraged to charge them more in a world without net neutrality. That's a major problem for online giants.
    2 - There's a Cost Involved
  • Big ISPs Will Gain Too Much Market Power

    Right now, all the power on the Web is in the hands of Internet giants. They're allowed to provide as much content as they want, and the ISPs need to deal with the bandwidth fallout. If net neutrality is officially struck down, the ISPs will hold all the power and Internet companies will have to play nice. That's a dangerous prospect.
    3 - Big ISPs Will Gain Too Much Market Power
  • Their Users Will Be Hurt

    If net neutrality is struck down, there's a good chance that users will be hurt. Net neutrality in many ways protects users from higher costs since companies would not carry the costs of major changes in pricing.
    4 - Their Users Will Be Hurt
  • It Could Hinder Startup Development

    Startup development is a huge concern in the net neutrality space. If companies need to pay for the ability to deliver their service to customers around the globe or if the users themselves need to pay more just to have access to those services, startups will never be able to grow. And since big companies like to acquire small startups, it's no surprise firms like Google and Facebook might take issue.
    5 - It Could Hinder Startup Development
  • It Could Stunt Economic Growth

    The Internet is a huge economic engine. If not for major Web companies, the U.S. would not be nearly as big or economically powerful as it is today. Net neutrality threatens all that by throttling Web companies and limiting their growth opportunities. The economy should be the FCC's chief concern going forward.
    6 - It Could Stunt Economic Growth
  • It Could Reduce U.S. Global Competitiveness

    It's one thing to kill net neutrality in the U.S., but in many competing countries around the world, there are no such limits on traffic. That would give other countries the upper hand and potentially put the U.S. in an even worse position on the Web. International competition simply cannot be ignored when evaluating net neutrality.
    7 - It Could Reduce U.S. Global Competitiveness
  • Web Companies Question Wheeler's Motives

    Before becoming FCC chairman, Wheeler spent a long time as a lobbyist working on behalf of the wireless industry, which includes some of the biggest ISPs in the business. Wheeler was sworn in as FCC chairman in November 2013. He hasn't had enough time to establish a track record as a rule-maker. So it's natural that many of the Web companies would question whether he will fairly balance the interests of ISPs, Web application companies and users.
    8 - Web Companies Question Wheeler's Motives
  • Bigger Companies Can Deaden the Blow

    Although many of the largest Web companies signed the letter, there's a real fear among smaller firms that they would be squeezed out from a net-neutrality-less world in which the big companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook would be able to absorb the higher costs. Competition is a real concern.
    9 - Bigger Companies Can Deaden the Blow
  • Bargaining for Bandwidth Will Result in Unequal Web Access

    As the companies note in the letter, an end to net neutrality could create a scenario in which "bargaining" for bandwidth and service access becomes commonplace in the industry. Companies would need to strike deals with ISPs, and in some cases, there would be significant differences in what end users are paying to access similar services. Net neutrality is supposed to reduce the chances of creating broad classes of disadvantaged users based on what they can afford to pay for Web access.
    10 - Bargaining for Bandwidth Will Result in Unequal Web Access
  • Will Business Models Change?

    If costs are passed on to companies for delivering so much data, there's a real possibility that the Web's business model will change. Major Web companies might need to start charging for access to services that are currently free or charge more than they already do. Users will have to decide to pay the additional charges or drop the service. The Internet's success has relied heavily on free or low-cost access to services. If ISPs make those firms pay, that business model might be toppled. And the Web might just change for the worse.
    11 - Will Business Models Change?

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