HomeBudget & Tax NewsInternet Service Provider Petitions to Charge Big Tech for Bandwidth Use

Internet Service Provider Petitions to Charge Big Tech for Bandwidth Use

Everyone wants cheaper … everything. Everyone wants more for less.

Because … human nature.

But almost everything costs money. So we must pay for almost everything.

Our connections to the Internet cost money. Since the World Wide Web’s mid-1990s private sector inception, U.S. internet service providers (ISPs) have invested nearly $2 trillion in creating, building, maintaining, and expanding our networks.

ISPs would like to get that money back. Plus a little something, you know, for the effort. That little something—aka profit—is the only way we humans have improved our otherwise nasty, poor, brutish, and short existences. And our Internet connections are an ever-increasing bargain. Our price per bit of data has dropped through the floor and continues to go down.

We have always had another way to reduce We the Users’ ISP fees, but ISPs have never implemented it because they have been quite reasonably concerned about being attacked by the same Leftist mobs that are currently destroying cities all across the country.

There are two pools of people ISPs can charge for the bandwidth they use:

The users, or the monstrous bandwidth-hogging Big Tech companies.

Consider some examples of the amount of money Big Tech has:

Apple (Market Cap: $1.6 trillion)

Microsoft (Market Cap: $1.5 trillion)

Amazon (Market Cap: $1.3 trillion)

Alphabet (Google’s parent company) (Market Cap: $938 billion)

Facebook (Market Cap: $610 billion)

As you know, these companies use a huge amount of bandwidth. The history of the internet is one of monstrous bandwidth-hog Big Tech companies not being charged for the monstrous bandwidth they use. That means the history of the internet is one of We the Users paying more to subsidize Big Tech’s monstrous use of bandwidth.

Why have ISPs given monstrous Big Tech companies this monster pass? Because they have feared the Leftist mobs—funded for many years by Big Tech—screeching and attacking them in order to get the government to implement the titanically stupid policy known as network neutrality.

Net neutrality is a horribly stupid policy for a whole host of reasons. For our purposes today, we’ll focus on just one: net neutrality prohibits ISPs from charging Big Tech for bandwidth. That is why Big Tech has spent so many years paying Leftist mobs to screech about net neutrality. It’s worth billions of dollars per year to them.

That is why, although net neutrality was in effect for only about one year (since repealed), ISPs have never charged Big Tech for all the bandwidth they use. No ISP wants to be overrun by Leftist mobs and become the digital version of CHAZ.

Enter Charter Communications.

Charter Seeks FCC Nod to Charge Video Streamers:

“Charter Communications wants permission to begin charging Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+ and other streamers for the pleasure of efficiently carrying its traffic.

“In a petition this past week to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the nation’s second-largest provider of cable TV and internet services cited the flourishing online video marketplace and asked for a sunset of two notable conditions imposed on Charter’s 2016 merger with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.”

Charter has to ask the government for permission to engage in Economics 101—charging people for things they use—because of another obnoxious political practice: merger agreement “conditions.” When government can’t get a bad law passed, they force merging companies to agree to bad laws imposed upon them piecemeal as a condition of merger approval. That is how Charter was force-fed net neutrality and why they now must ask for a waiver from that obnoxious condition.

Charter wants to charge some online video streaming companies for the monstrous bandwidth they use to deliver their highly profitable services.

Imagine that Charter was a chain of gas stations and the fear of mobs had long prohibited them from charging box trucks and eighteen-wheelers for the fuel they use. We consumers have therefore been paying much more to fuel our little passenger cars, and in gas taxes to maintain and build the roads, to subsidize the wealthy owners of the trucks and tractor-trailers.

This Big Tech video giveaway has been a massive transfer of money from consumers to Big Tech. Nothing comes close to the bandwidth used by video. It’s an endless caravan of eighteen-wheelers steamrolling down the Information Superhighway:

Netflix and (Google’s) YouTube Make Up Majority of US Internet Traffic, New Report Shows

How can Netflix afford to spend more than $17 billion on content in 2020, including a cool $50 million for the net neutrality-pushing Obamas, while charging only $8 or $10 per subscription? By having you pay for the delivery of their product regardless of whether you purchase it. You’re paying more for your tiny Internet connection in order to subsidize Netflix’s massive, free Internet connection.

It’s not unlike another big scam:

Why the Post Office Gives Amazon a $1.46 Subsidy on Each Box

The taxpayers mass-subsidize the world’s richest human, Jeff Bezos, even if we never order anything from his company.

The current members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), who repealed the Barack Obama FCC’s net neutrality imposition, should grant Charter the waiver. What’s more, what Charter is asking to do ought very quickly to become industry standard practice. ISPs everywhere should charge Big Tech bandwidth hogs for the internet access they use.

This would create a huge infusion of cash from the world’s richest companies, much of which would be invested in further improvements in our networks, much to the benefit of the consumer. That would reorder the internet economic ecosystem such that people finally pay for what they use, ending the freeloading by economically and politically powerful Big Tech.

Requiring Big Tech companies to pay their way would mean internet users would pay only for what they get. The FCC should let Charter implement this commonsense policy and allow others to follow Charter’s lead.

[Originally posted at RedState. Edited by Heartland Daily News.]

Seton Motley
Seton Motley
Seton Motley is the president of Less Government, a DC-based non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the power of government and protecting the First Amendment from governmental assault.


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