With the FCC entering a public comment period on the subject of Network Neutrality, I’ve been thinking, “What would a repeal of Network Neutrality mean for online sports media?” If you’re not familiar with the concept of Net Neutrality take just two minutes to watch this video from SavetheInternet.com (it’s actually kind of entertaining).
So, let’s imagine–without the principle of Net Neutrality–how a telecom company might make bandwidth decisions concerning specific content. Take the Internet provider Comcast and their ownership of Versus.com. Were the guiding principle of Network Neutrality to be removed, Comcast could restrict the bandwidth for consumers accessing sites that are competitors of Versus. Consumers using FOXSports.com, for instance, might have their bandwidth reduced to a level that would make its multi-media offerings incommensurate with Comcast-owned sites.
However, the telecom industry is oligopolistic, meaning that consumers are limited in their choice of services to just a few large corporations. The telecom companies know better than to engage in cutthroat (i.e. genuine) competition. Restricting consumer access to a competitor’s Web site would only result in the same being done to their own. Instead, as an oligopoly, they’d prefer to squabble for market share and erect huge barriers to entry. By doing so they can actually secure near-monopoly-level profits while keeping up the faPowered by Sidelines