Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Service Providers: Are we getting what we pay for?

The popular Internet provider Verizon has recently been playing a role in the increasing pressure on net neutrality. This issue has been very relevant in the recent years as providers have started to micro manage data usage of individual customers. In the instance of the article Verizon is not counting data usage towards the customers data cap unless the service is strictly white listed, also known as 'zero rating'.

While reading the article I found that they touched on a few important concepts worth mentioning. The very first being what exactly zero rating was. I am a customer of an Internet provider and not having any prior knowledge of it made me turn my head. For example, if a user were to stream Netflix they would not be charged for any data coming from that specific service. Verizon has announced that their new service Go90 will not count towards any data cap. The issue is that this is against traditional network neutrality but isn't against the FCC ruling on the matter. Although they pass FCC regulation they're still managing each company individually to ensure that no other laws are broken. It is stated that some would agree that regardless of programs allowing services to participate in zero-rating it's technically illegal. In other words providers prioritize commercially licensed material over other forms of media.

The article also discussed the relevance of the many available streaming services. I feel that with the increasing amount of streaming services there needs to be some incentives for a company to survive. I understand that it's not technically illegal for a company to prioritize their own services but I do feel as if it can be unfair. The only way I feel that this could be fair is if a company offers the ability for other services to participate in zero rating. Without the ability for companies to get around data costs I feel that it should be considered illegal. Although it was not mentioned in the article I would also agree that providers should not have the ability to throttle the data coming from other services to further promote their own.

Another point worth mentioning is that under it all the companies don't seem to be attempting to undermine the FCC. The companies seem to be very customer friendly and have high ratings to prove that statement. Even if the providers don't explicitly explain the existence of zero-rating it doesn't seem to have a major effect on the likeliness of the customer choosing another service.

Overlooked by the article might be that fact that Internet providers without their own streaming service still have full control over data speeds and other connection factors. Data that might support the information stated in the article like prices and other details may have contributed to general argument of the article.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Nick,
    I think this was a very interesting article that focused on the ideas of net neutrality and ‘zero rating’. I am a customer of Verizon and was unaware of the concept of ‘zero rating’. I like the use of incentives by Verizon as a way of competition with the other data companies. It is smart for them to promote this feature of no data costs for streaming sites such as Netflix because people start using the free streaming from Verizon no matter what data company they have. This actually makes the customers of other data companies lose money because they are not fully using their features of their data company to the max. When their contracts expire they feel an obligation to switch to Verizon because they already use some of their services and feel comfortable with the data company. I agree with your opinion that the article overlooked the fact that no prices were named. I feel like if it included prices throughout the article I would better be able to see the impact of staying with the current data company or switching to Verizon. I would also like to see the success of this new innovation by Verizon. I would like to see the percentages of people who switched over to Verizon or who stayed with their current company since this innovation was implemented. I think it is an interesting idea and very clever by Verizon to market their data by making it free to customers.


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