Yesterday, December 14th, 2017 was a sad day for the internet, as the FCC killed Net Neutrality. The biggest loser in this are individuals, followed by smaller groups of individuals, and small companies. The winners are the big corporations, and the larger they are, the bigger they win.
How will this affect the DBIUA, as a member owned ISP?
The good thing is we are already a small group of people who have pooled our resources. We have over 60 members, and we do everything we can to provide each of our members the fastest connection possible to their home for $35/month. Depending on where you are in our network, this may range from 5mbps up/down all the way up to 50mbps up/down. But, we don’t specifically throttle or prioritize traffic in our network.
The other good thing is we have two different network providers now. Startouch Broadband, and Rockisland Communications. We have our network gateways setup to split traffic between them.
Luckily both of these providers were willing to provide us a wholesale connection. But, depending on where you live, and what your options are, even if you can put together a group of people who want to share a wholesale internet connection, you may not be able to find anyone who will provide you that connection as it will be more profitable to deal with individuals directly.
We pay Rockisland about $900/month for our connection that 60 different individuals use. Rockisland’s normal price for individuals is around $75/month. If these 60 individuals where direct customers, that would be $4,500/month for them. The financial incentive for all these ISP’s is NOT to sell wholesale connections, but deal with individuals directly. Also, when dealing with individuals directly, they can upcharge for better service for those individuals who want it.
Even though we have two network providers, that is not the end of the story, because each of them have to connect to a bigger fish upstream. Their upstream providers could decide to charge them differently and throttle/prioritize traffic, and then the right thing to do from a business perspective is to pass these costs back onto their customers. And then we would have to pass that back to our individual members.
The part of this that really bugs me, is the that the organization that should be looking out for the individuals in this country, and making sure they are not getting screwed is our government. It exists to represent and protect each of us, and it just screwed us all.