Why are Internet giants like Google and Facebook so invested in net neutrality? Is it idealism, a staunch defense of freedom of information? Or is it something more capitalistic in nature?
Forbes’ Tim Worstall opines that it’s the latter, saying that it’s money and revenue that is mostly driving their arguments. “If those who own that bandwidth were able to price discriminate then they would: and this would mean some portion of the revenues of those services would move over from the content providers to the bandwidth providers,” he writes. “Some part of your Hulu or Netflix subscription would be paid to the internet providers, some part of Google’s YouTube advertising revenue would move from Google’s coffers to, say, Comcast’s. And quite clearly this is something that those content providers would prefer did not happen: thus the arguments in favor of net neutrality.”
Worstall then goes on to point out that Facebook, for example, appears to be in favor of net neutrality when it comes to access to Facebook only, not necessarily other services. He writes, “It doesn’t all have to be about the money, of course. But money is certainly driving some of the argument, as it always will when such rivers of cash are at stake. The content providers are at least in part arguing that they should get to keep ahold of that money and that the broadband and mobile airtime providers shouldn’t be allowed to charge them different amounts for different levels of access or service to us, the consumers. Money is almost never the only argument about anything but it’s a useful way to bet that money is usually one of the arguments about anything.”
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