Net Neutrality Is Fiction, No Matter What FCC Does

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[Commentary] No matter what the Federal Communications Commission does, America's internet is not an equal place and it's only going to become less fair. The reality is big companies do have a privileged path into people's digital lives. They have the money and the technical ability to make sure their websites and internet videos speed through internet pipes without delays or hiccups. Web services from big companies such as Netflix and Google account for the majority of internet use during peak evening hours in North America. And even though Google doesn't need to pay AT&T or Verizon Communications, it sometimes does either directly or indirectly. Google, Netflix Inc. and other rich companies have long had agreements to connect their computer equipment directly into telecommunications companies' networks. In some cases, those web companies pay fees for the privilege, known as paid peering. These payments are a legal and accepted -- if occasionally controversial -- cost of doing business, even under the stricter internet regulation the FCC is seeking to undo. And it's not only the big internet companies that press their advantage. America's providers of telephone and internet access do it, too. Those telecom companies often have their own web video programming or other digital services, and they can and do give them a leg up in ways no regulatory body has addressed. 


Net Neutrality Is Fiction, No Matter What FCC Does