Re: Ah, Californian Wieners
You make it sound like ISPs and transit providers are operating as charities...
As both a content producer and an Internet user, I pay my ISP and hosting provider for the service I receive, including the bandwidth I consume. They use some of that money to pay their upstream providers who use some of that to pay their transit providers and so on. Everyone is getting paid. If I pay for bandwidth, I expect to be able to use it and, provided I'm not using it for any purpose that compromises network integrity or brings law enforcement to their doors, what I do with that bandwidth should be none of their business. I paid for it. It should be mine to use.
How is it possibly anti-consumer or anti-competitive to guarantee that I can use the bandwidth I'm paying for to consume the services I choose? On the other hand, I would see it as massively anti-competitive for my ISP to push me towards a content provider they have some paid prioritisation deal with by making competing services perform so badly in comparison that I give up on them. It would be like the parking provider in town making me use only one entry and exit lane and park in the crappy spaces on the 5th floor unless I was going to the supermarket in town that had paid them.
From my point of view, this whole thing is about corporate greed from the ISPs, particularly the cable ones. Not content with the fee they charge me for the service I bought, they want to double-dip the content providers. Now, I do see this as anti-consumer. If content providers have to hand over huge chunks of money to ISPs, they will want to get this money back. They will do this by taking it from me, directly or indirectly. Things that were free will suddenly cost money. There will be "premium" access plans to things that were free. Paid sites' prices will go up, they won't buy as much content or they will end up plastered in advertising to recover the charges. All of these things will take away from the Internet experience of consumers, particularly those on restricted incomes.
What happens if transit providers see the ISPs get this and decide they want a slice of the action? Will ISPs who don't engage in prioritisation end up with it by default when Netflix pay their upstream provider but Amazon don't? I'm starting to feel like this is the thin end of a very large wedge. Hey, why shouldn't Cisco have a slice too? Their gear is switching it all.