T-Mobile CEO John Legere is at it again. When he announced Binge On, the ability to stream video from 24 different sources (at the time) without it counting toward your data cap, it sounded like a great idea for T-Mobile subscribers, right?
Of course not. Just like almost every time I turn on a tech news podcast, someone has to bitch about Net Neutrality. Seriously, every time anyone runs a promotion or anything like this, all of the tech pundits have to sit there and discuss whether it’s a violation of Net Neutrality.
First of all, isn’t it a bit narcissistic? Do these people really think that they are so important that it’s their job to protect the Internet?
I’m not a T-Mobile subscriber, although I’ve considered it. Sadly, they don’t carry Lumias. On the other hand, I have no doubt that John Legere didn’t start Binge On to undermine a free and open Internet. I think he started Binge On to make his customers happy and to gain more.
You can go ahead and watch the video. Guess who he pissed off? You guessed correctly. The tech pundits, a.k.a. the Net Neutrality advocates.
The Verge countered by writing an article called You’re not Batman, John Legere, just another wireless talking head. The actual URL is http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/7/10729714/john-legere-carrier-bullshit. Note the “john-legere-carrier-bullshit”.
Here’s what The Verge says:
What gives us — people, public interest groups, the FCC — the right to decide how internet service providers, especially wireless providers, should protect and empower consumers? The laws of physics — something Legere’s favorite caped crusader can’t even violate. T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, you name it: none of these companies could exist or operate without receiving enormous concessions of a finite public resource: the electromagnetic spectrum. There’s only so much of it to go around, and as a civilized society we long ago decided the cost for being able to reap private profits over such an essential public resource is that you damn well better listen when the public tells you it wants a free and open internet that requires that public resource to operate.
OK, so to be clear, we want a free and open Internet, but not a free and open market? Wait, what is a free and open Internet? Oh wait. It’s branding. After all, how does “free and open” stand for “more regulations”?
I’ve been against Net Neutrality since day one. You’ll also notice that I always capitalize Net Neutrality because it’s nothing more than a brand. Hell, when the big Net Neutrality debates were going on, whoever was in charge of branding actually posted to Reddit that they were looking for ideas to rebrand Net Neutrality.
Net Neutrality is clearly a brand. Branding means marketing. Marketing means that someone wants you to believe something because they will profit from it.
During those Net Neutrality debates, there was one thing that all of those self-important tech pundits agreed upon. The real answer is competition.
That’s right. Comcast and Time Warner make illegal deals to stay out of each other’s territories so that they can have a monopoly where they operate. Most people only have one choice for broadband Internet and since these companies are renowned for being dicks, most people believed that they would eventually abuse their monopoly position by speeding up services that paid up and slowing down services that couldn’t afford to, sending the Internet into a post apocalyptic hellscape where we can only watch Netflix and check Facebook.
Of course, that would never happen, even without Net Neutrality laws. The fact is that the biggest companies have an interest in the smallest sites. Look about three inches to your right, depending on the size of your monitor. Those are Google ads served by Google AdSense. Ads account for about 97% of Google’s revenue, so you can bet your ass that Google isn’t going to let that post apocalyptic hellscape happen.
But I digress. Everyone agreed that competition would solve the problem. After all, if you can’t get your For the Love of Tech from Comcast and you could go to another service to get it at faster speeds, Comcast would go out of business by enforcing these things.
That’s what everyone said, “If only we had real competition…” The problem is that those deals that Time Warner and Comcast make to stay out of each other’s territory is illegal. If I want to start a small ISP and rent Verizon’s cables or bandwidth, they’ll charge me more than I can make per customer, which is also illegal.
So why aren’t we enforcing laws that already exist instead of creating more regulation? The answer is that someone profits from this. Just going by what I’ve written so far in this article, that would be Google, but hey, we’re not here to make up conspiracy theories.
We’re here to point out that John Legere isn’t doing anything wrong. The answer, since the beginning, has been competition and that’s exactly what Legere is trying to do. He’s trying to compete with AT&T and Verizon.
Like I said, I’ve been against Net Neutrality since day one. Here’s the evidence of that.