So now that Verizon and Google have proven themselves to be liars, the FCC is out of the Internet regulation business, and you still have to plan for business change, what should your next move be?
None. It doesn’t matter. Move on.
OK, so it isn’t as simple as that, but it’s close. Last week, when I told you about the Google / Verizon Collusion on Net Neutrality Pact, the most important point I made was this: Verizon and Google, working from a place that the rest of us can only dream about, are essentially making law. Oh sure, the FCC will eventually get around to writing the “official” version of how things work, but by attacking the issue preemptively, Google and Verizon have set up a showdown designed to ensure that the ultimate outcome is in their favor.
Let’s make sure what this means is clear:
Net Neutrality, the tenet under which telecommunications carriers like Verizon don’t decide for users what’s important, is an idea that isn’t really viable unless the laws governing it are so clear and carry such harsh (and easily enforced) penalties that carriers simply stay clear of even the perception of impropriety. This Isn’t Really Possible. In the United States our legal system is designed to allow skirting issues for long periods without fear of immediate enforcement.
Google and Verizon, under the thinly-veiled pretense of “doing the right thing”, are going to start operating in a way that, once established, will be nearly impossible for the FCC or any other governmental agency or lawmaking body to bust up without decades-long litigation.
And that litigation will happen. And millions if not billions of dollars will be spent running that litigation through the system. And when Verizon, Google, and whoever else is involved eventually “give in” and agree to government-mandated rules, those rules will be diluted to within an inch of being completely meaningless.
Big Business wins. Net Neutrality is over.
That said, the reason this doesn’t really “matter” is that
- Big Business Always Wins
- Everyone else figures out a way to deal with that
You may need to find ways around filters (yes, The Computer Answer Guy can help). You may need to move certain services to specific places (this is where Google comes in). You may even need to pay a little extra for special, higher-priority Internet service. But ultimately, you’ll be fine, and your business change planning will keep you in the game.
But Net Neutrality sure was a cute idea while it lasted!