Want a Real Internet Slowdown Day? Regulate it Like a Public Utility
The first thing you’ll see when you visit Battle for the Net’s website, an advocacy page promoting dramatic new Internet regulations, is a symbolic loading icon that says “Slow lanes would change the Internet and free speech forever.” The truth is, we agree. But the irony is that Battle for the Net's proposed solution - Title II reclassification - is the real culprit that could jeopardize the Internet. It’s unfortunate, but not surprising, that the debate over how to enact reasonable net neutrality protections for consumers has come to this - a PR stunt called Internet Slowdown Day to suggests how ISPs are going to ruin the consumer Internet experience. Of course, this isn’t true. Even after setting aside the fact that cable companies are supportive of reasonable net neutrality rules, Battle for the Net’s mission statement and the fundamental premise protest day are absurd. Why would the cable industry, which has spent billions upon billions to expand infrastructure, to improve network efficiency, to connect 93 percent of Americans and to increase speeds 1500 percent over the last decade, be actively working to slow down the Internet? It doesn’t make sense.
"It’s unfortunate, but not surprising, that the debate has come to this."
In 2011, the top available cable broadband speed to homes was 105 Mbps. The next year, it jumped to 305 Mbps. The year after that, 505 Mbps. Along the way, those top-of-the-line speeds dropped in price. Today, 105 Mbps costs about $60 in Washington, DC. And now, cable companies have announced plans to begin deployment of 1Gbps broadband to homes. Advances like these have come from huge investment in expanding and strengthening networks. So why would cable ISPs want to hurt the Internet – the thing they’ve spent so much on to grow? It doesn’t make sense. In 2013, cable companies spent $14 billion on infrastructure investments. With that money, they helped improve access, delivering a minimum of 6 Mbps to over 99 percent of Americans and between 50Mbps and 100Mbps to 83 percent of Americans. That’s a monumental jump for a nation as spread out and rural as ours. So again: Why would cable ISPs be “spending millions to slow your Internet to a crawl” as Battle for the Net’s website says, while simultaneously spending $38 million a day to speed it up? It doesn’t make sense. Internet Slowdown Day is sure to make a splash. It’ll drive a lot of attention to Net Neutrality, Title II regulation, and the role of ISPs in America’s broadband future. Before buying into the hype, ask yourself: Does this make sense? Would an industry that has invested over $200 billion into creating one of the largest, fastest, most comprehensive broadband networks on earth, really be trying to “destroy the Internet?”