editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Net Neutrality Takes a Hit

Imagine that a private company creates a public toll road. This actually happens, so it’s not a crazy idea. In exchange for building and maintaining the road, the company gets to collect tolls. That’s the monetization model.

Of course, once that’s in place, that company (or, more likely, its shareholders) might randomly decide that they simply deserve (or want) more money. So they do a deal with a specific car manufacturer. Now the tolls will be higher for cars that aren’t made by that company. Then they do a deal with a particular grocery chain: cars carrying groceries from competing chains are denied access to the road.

Imagine that the electric company establishes a protocol for communicating with appliances across the power lines. Not satisfied with the stable revenue that a utility provides, let’s say they try to goose earnings up a bit and do a deal with a particular appliance vendor. Now, if you use the wrong appliance, you’ll be charged more for the power. Or perhaps power will not be delivered to that appliance at all.

These sound like crazy scenarios, right? They’re unlikely, since both entities are regulated. Well, that’s what net neutrality is about – the guy that provides the highway should give equal access to anyone that wants to get on the highway. The FCC is trying to make that happen in the same way that agencies regulate utilities and private toll roads. Except that the guys that own the information highways are just itching to take more control over who gets to go on their highway.

This would be a different story if we could make an ISP decision each time we went online. We then might pick one ISP for one website and a different ISP for some other website. But that’s not how it works. We only get one ISP. Rather than consumers getting a choice, it simply becomes a bigger piece of the fight for Ultimate Control of Everything. He/She with the most bucks wins. Good ideas and useful stuff without a big bankroll? Buh bye.

Yes, all the ISPs say they’re interested in maintaining an open internet. That may be partly because the FCC is trying to force them to, and they don’t want to be forced to, so they have to promise to play nice. If the FCC pressure goes away and the shareholders get an urge for a new yacht, will they still subscribe to lofty ideals that leave money on the table? If, say, Verizon decides to do a deal with Microsoft, might that mean that Bing would be the ONLY search allowed on the Verizon network? <shudder>

A US appeals court today decided that the FCC didn’t have the authority to craft the rules it put in place. It’s not clear yet whether they’ll appeal, change the rules, or just give up. If it’s the latter, then, barring some major transformational change, the internet will practically fall under the control of a few ginormous companies. Yes, anyone will be able to create a website and put it on the net. But if they can’t afford the fees for preferential (or even for any) access, will anyone see it? And if the website competes with content that the ISP already owns, then no fee may be high enough.

Granted, such provisions aren’t in place now, and it’s premature to assume they will happen. On the other hand, if none of the ISPs had any interest in putting any such restrictions in place, why would they spend so much legal money trying to preserve their right to do so?

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Jan 22, 2021
Amidst an ongoing worldwide pandemic, Samtec continues to connect with our communities. As a digital technology company, we understand the challenges and how uncertain times have been for everyone. In early 2020, Samtec Cares suspended its normal grant cycle and concentrated ...
Jan 22, 2021
I was recently introduced to the concept of a tray that quickly and easily attaches to your car'€™s steering wheel (not while you are driving, of course). What a good idea!...
Jan 22, 2021
This is my second post about this year's CES. The first was Consumer Electronics Show 2021: GM, Intel . AMD The second day of CES opened with Lisa Su, AMD's CEO, presenting. AMD announced new... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community...
Jan 20, 2021
Explore how EDA tools & proven IP accelerate the automotive design process and ensure compliance with Automotive Safety Integrity Levels & ISO requirements. The post How EDA Tools and IP Support Automotive Functional Safety Compliance appeared first on From Silicon...

featured paper

Speeding Up Large-Scale EM Simulation of ICs Without Compromising Accuracy

Sponsored by Cadence Design Systems

With growing on-chip RF content, electromagnetic (EM) simulation of passives is critical — from selecting the right RF design candidates to detecting parasitic coupling. Being on-chip, accurate EM analysis requires a tie in to the process technology with process design kits (PDKs) and foundry-certified EM simulation technology. Anything short of that could compromise the RFIC’s functionality. Learn how to get the highest-in-class accuracy and 10X faster analysis.

Click here to download the whitepaper

featured chalk talk

Using the Graphical PMSM FOC Component in Harmony3

Sponsored by Microchip and Mouser Electronics

Developing embedded software, and particularly configuring your embedded system can be a major pain for development engineers. Getting all the drivers, middleware, and libraries you need set up and in the right place and working is a constant source of frustration. In this episode of Chak Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Brett Novak of Microchip about Microchip’s MPLAB Harmony 3, with the MPLAB Harmony Configurator - an embedded development framework with a drag-and-drop GUI that makes configuration a snap.

Click here for more information about Microchip Technology MPLAB® X Integrated Development Environment (IDE)