The recent court decision against Net Neutrality got me thinking about something reader/blogger Len suggested just recently: don’t use a Cable provider for your broadband. If this decision sticks than we definitely need to consider that advice.
If the telecoms can selectively throttle OTT (over the top) video then Netflix, YouTube, and lots of 3rd party streamers may suddenly get more expensive or difficult to view. So I set out to find a provider that is totally independent from the pay TV business. But is that possible? I’m not sure.
Anyone with the motivation and resources can start up an ISP (internet service provider). There are thousands of big and small companies around the US you probably never heard of. As an example tw telecom is the “third-largest Business Ethernet provider in the U.S” but many of the people I talk to never heard of them. One problem: tw telecom only provides services to businesses, not homes. Too bad.
Then there are smaller independents like in my area Webpass, that offers 100Mbs for $50/month. The first problem here is it looks like Webpass mainly serves downtown. But the other issue I’m speculating on is how Webpass and others like them connect to the internet. The odds are they are buying “wholesale services” from guess who? AT&T, TWC or COX.
If Webpass buys a 10Gb pipe from AT&T and chops it up for their customers does that prevent AT&T from throttling packets on the way to Netflix? Thae answer probably depends on the agreement between Webpass and AT&T. Which leads to another interesting scenario:
If the big boys do start screwing with our bandwidth on a per service basis, they might actually push the consumer to jump to an independent that vows not to. And since cable operators are now losing video subscribers and gaining broadband only subscribers, they should think carefully before tinkering with neutrality.