Here we are again discussing Net Neutrality… Chad Dickerson CEO of well renowned Etsy.com, has come out strongly in favor, and wants everyone to take action.
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Honestly when I read his wired piece Etsy CEO to businesses: If Net Neutrality Perishes, We Will Too, I was struck by one statement:
The FCC proposal will threaten *ANY* business that uses the internet to reach it’s customers.
Any business? Quite a sweeping statement. Strikes fear into me that’s for sure… And if you read through the comments, the debate is equally fierce. One side says net neutrality is socialism! The other side says anyone against net neutrality is a shill for Comcast or Verizon! Battle lines drawn!
1. Are all businesses at risk?
Isn’t the idea that ETSY will perish overstated? Are they a high bandwidth company? Are they trying to stream video?
Is the entire Etsy community alarmed? Isn’t that a rather broad statement?
To be sure ending net neutrality will impact some businesses. Perhaps one reason VC’s like Fred Wilson are so concerned about Net Neutrality isn’t for the freedom of millions of internet users, but the threat to disruptive businesses, the startups that VC’s directly invest in.
2. Will all internet users be impacted?
Here again some of this debate seems overstated. I remember using the internet on a dialup modem. 300 baud, was about the speed at which you can type. Then along came 14.4, 28k and upward speeds climbed. All the while the internet was usable. Could I do all the things I can today, nope.
Even if these horrible Comcast’s & Verizon’s reduce speeds by 100 times, they will still be plenty fast for most internet users. Sure streaming video would be impacted, and yes streaming music would be impacted. But for end users, I would argue most would not be impacted. It is rather the disruptive startups & businesses that would be most impacted.
3. Are there anti-EDU parallels
In the mid-nineties, before the dot-com bubble, there was a huge raging debate about even having commercial entities on the internet at all. Enlightened internet cognoscenti considered it an abomination.
But the real world pushed it’s nose in, and today we take as a given.
4. Is google right about millisecond delays?
“Research from Google & Microsoft shows that delays of milliseconds result in fewer page views and fewer sales in both the short & long term”. Yep, that’s a fact. The research shows this. But what do we take away from that?
As a performance and scalability consultant I see a *TON* of websites that have huge delays, well over tiny millisecond ones that Google frets over. Internet startups struggle with performance every day.
What’s the irony? Slowdowns that Comcast or Verizon might introduce to end users pale in comparison with these larger systemic problems.
5. Any lessons from sites of New York Fashion Week?
I like the Pingdom speed test tool. I used it to track the speed of some of the websites & blogs that are big for NYFW. Here’s what I found:
What do you see? Take a look at the SIZE column. Notice something strange? The LARGEST sites, in terms of images, css & assets aren’t necessarily the SLOWEST! That’s a funny result if you consider net neutrality. If you think the network speed is the same for all websites, shouldn’t the smallest pages load fastest?
Not true at all. It’s a very simplistic way of viewing things. Fashionista.com for example is doing a ton of tuning behind the scenes. As you can see it is making their site far and away the fastest! Network bandwidth and net neutrality be damned!
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