Nondiscrimination

Neutrality Should be Required of Content Providers as Well.

I run a municipal wireless ISP and support net neutrality as a concept. The proposed rules, however, do not address a major issue that is going to affect both ISPs and end users in the near future.

 

If ISPs have to transport content to subscribers regardless of the content provider then content providers should be required to provide content to subscribers regardless of the ISP.

 

As an example, ESPN launched ESPN360.com in 2006 to provide sports coverage over the web. The catch is, users can only access the website if their ISP pays ESPN. That's right, your ISP has to pay or you can't access the site.

 

ESPN even goes so far as to suggest that if your ISP doesn't pay them, you should change to one that does. They provide no option to pay them yourself, rather, they want to force ISPs to pay them for every subscriber whether the subscriber uses their website or not.

 

It is important that content providers also be held to net neutrality standards. The stunt ESPN is playing with ESPN360.com is reprehensible and should be banned under these rules.

 

Net neutrality basically bans me from telling our members that they can only access ESPN.com if they pay us a special fee. It should also ban ESPN from telling our members that they can only access ESPN.com if my ISP pays them a special fee.

 

Imagine what would happen if Google all of a sudden said that they would only provide search services to end users whose ISP pays Google a $2/Mo/Subscriber fee? What ISP would be able to say, "we can get along without Google"? ISPs would be forced to pay and would pass the costs on to users.

 

This is the same stunt ESPN and other content providers pull with cable television. They force cable companies to carry their services on the "basic" cable tier, so even if you don't watch ESPN (and there are many people who don't) you are forced to pay for it.

 

Don't let the Internet become like cable television. Take this opportunity to ban this practice as part of common sense net neutrality.

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Idea No. 191

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