You are here

The Real Motive behind Opposition to Broadband Usage Pricing -- Part 13 Broadband Internet Pricing Freedom Series

Now we know the real reason why there has been such strong opposition by FreePress and other net neutrality proponents to the common sense economic notion of broadband usage pricing. The newly launched Open Wireless Movement now wants to turn everyone's home WiFi routers into interconnected, free, public-community, "open WiFi" hotspots.

FreePress explains it: "Imagine a world in which, neighborhood by neighborhood, people stop putting password locks on their Wi-Fi networks and instead share their Internet connections with their neighbors, giving everyone in their community access to a fast and open Internet."­­… "In addition, coalition members are working with open Internet advocates to push Internet service providers into becoming more, well, open to the idea of Wi-Fi sharing. This work includes getting ISPs to create less restrictive terms of service."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation also explains it: "To take advantage of the Internet, people should not have to attempt to skirt restrictive Terms of Service to attempt to tether their smart phones. And tethering would not be necessary if there were ubiquitous open wireless, so that anyone with a connection and power can share their network with the neighborhood."

Why internet commons activists oppose broadband usage-based pricing and terms-of-service agreements is that those common sense business practices ensure that their broadband networks, users' broadband usage, and their broadband business model are based on sound and sustainable economics and business practices. In opposition to that, Internet commons activists imagine private infrastructure investment is, and should be, a free abundant good that somebody else always magically pays for.

While framed in the usual clever and deceptive language that these activists have mastered, at bottom the Open Wireless Movement is about trying to force private communications or media to become a public Internet commons, where use of infrastructure is free to the public like most roads (but not like usage-based electricity or water utilities), and where Government controls the network -- not private, business, or property interests.

The Open Wireless Movement opposes market-driven broadband usage-based pricing and private terms-of-service agreements because they apparently seek to:

  • Subvert/bypass current broadband terms-of-service by organizing clusters of neighbors to drop their own wire line broadband service and then tether to one remaining neighbor's high-speed wire line broadband connection via an open wireless shared community local network, thus saving them all a lot of money, especially if there is no usage-pricing model or cap that would limit the number of people that potentially could benefit from this piracy-like scheme;
  • Arbitrage the business/consumer pricing/business model by trying to transplant the higher-price business-line public WiFi hotspot model to the lower-price consumer line, private-home WiFi hotspot model;
  • Game the "TV Anywhere" authentication system by encouraging and enabling unauthorized broadband users via open software to appear as authorized users and consume premium TV content without paying for it; and
  • Set net neutrality public relations traps, i.e. when a broadband provider enforces its terms-of-service agreement against open network sharing among a local community -- they would be accused of discrimination and blocking.

While this Open Wireless "Movement" currently does not have any apparent corporate backing, it is noteworthy that this Open Wireless movement obviously dovetails exceptionally well with the goals and broadband commoditization efforts of:

Bottom line: Common sense usage-based pricing and private terms-of-service agreements are legitimate barriers to the Open Wireless Movement's scheme to create a wireless Internet commons subsidized by private broadband interests.

The other legitimate barrier to this latest commons scheme is the common sense of the average consumer that an "open" network of this kind is not going to be as private and secure as the activists represent -- no more than open doors and open windows with open curtains protect the privacy and security of homeowners.


Broadband Internet Pricing Freedom Series

Part 1: "Netflix' Glass House Temper Tantrum Over Broadband Usage Fees"

Part 2: "Netflix Uneconomics"

Part 3: "Debunking the Carping Over Broadband Usage-Pricing"

Part 4: "Is Netflix the AOL of Web Streaming?"

Part 5: "Consumer Groups Advocacy Hypocrisy"

Part 6: "Leaf Vision and Broadband Usage Caps"

Part 7: "Broadband Pricing is Naturally Evolving to Tiers"

Part 8: "Obsolete Analysis Will Doom DOJ's Antitrust Probe of Cable"

Part 9: "Video: Scott Cleland Discusses Netflix' DOJ Complaint"

Part 10: "SCOTUS Indecency Ruling's Effect of Net Neutrality"

Part 11: "U.S. Net Neutrality Movement in Retreat"

Part 12: "FCC Creates Abundant Uncertainty"