Net Neutrality, Verizon vs. Netflix, and the Consumer

Just a few days ago my roommate and I were complaining to ourselves that our Netflix streaming rates had been terrible lately.  This confused us greatly, as our Verizon FIOS ISP guarantees that our download speeds are faster than anything else in the city.  A simple test at showed that we were still getting close to the 100M download speeds we were supposed to be getting…yet the streaming of Netflix was horrendously slow.

Then I discovered this, in tandem with some other things I’ve read recently about the threat of Net Neutrality.

Netflix speeds lag for Verizon users amid dispute

In reading this, I had a rather expected reaction to this in a way that seems largely left out of the argumentative picture.  After some initial emotional annoyance, I had the very logical reaction of “But that means I’m not getting what I’m paying for.”  As a consumer, I’m paying for download rates.  I’m not paying a flat rate at a specified transfer rate so that Verizon can then limit specific companies’ internet streaming speeds and by proxy lower mine.  That seems very disingenuous from a consumer’s point of view, and–though I haven’t read it–might even be a violation of the contract we have with them that gets us to send them money every month.

Is this the future of the internet?  If two companies have a feud over business stuff, is it okay for us as consumers to become the victims?  This is certainly a ramification of net neutrality that needs to be addressed.  The regulators need to protect the consumer in this scenario, not the big businesses.  That’s what I see as the major conflict in the future here: it’s always the consumers who suffer and who are manipulated by multi-billion dollar companies seeking yet another billion.

I can easily envision a class-action lawsuit against ISPs who think throttling internet speeds from certain services who don’t pay them enough on behalf of consumers.  I would certainly be a part of that class.  Hopefully it won’t even come to this, as with luck our legislators will see the problem here sooner rather than later and act to ensure that this doesn’t happen. We shall see…in the meantime, I just want to watch my movies and streaming TV shows without ridiculous slow-down, lag time, and resolution issues due to transfer speeds.  Is that such much to ask when my network is already fiber-optic?



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