The Internet has already changed how we live and work, and we’re only just getting started. Who’d have thought even five years ago that people would be streaming Ultra HD 4K video over their home Internet connections?
Technological advances are driving this evolution and will continue to do so only if we make sure the companies controlling consumers’ access to the Internet don’t adopt business practices that stifle its revolutionary nature. The next Netflix won’t stand a chance if the largest US Internet service providers are allowed to merge or demand extra fees from content companies trying to reach their subscribers.
This year we reluctantly agreed to pay AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon for access to our mutual subscribers, who were seeing a rapid decline in their Netflix viewing experience because of congestion at the connection point where we transfer content to the ISP. The ISPs argue that our data-rich services take up limited capacity on their networks. But broadband is not a finite resource. Network limitations are largely the result of business decisions to not keep pace with subscriber demand in a world where the Internet increasingly is the main vehicle for all kinds of entertainment, from gaming to movies to video chats with loved ones.
IT WOULD BE BETTER TO HAVE NO RULES THAN THE ONES BEING PROPOSED BY THE FCC, WHICH SIMPLY LEGALIZE DISCRIMINATION ON THE INTERNET.
Consider this: A single fiber-optic strand the diameter of a human hair can carry 101.7 terabits of data per second, enough to support nearly every Netflix subscriber watching content in HD at the same time. And while technology has improved and capacity has increased, costs have continued to decline. A few more shelves of equipment might be needed in the buildings that house interconnection points, but broadband itself is as limitless as its uses.