Being a political moderate, I was sitting squarely on the fence on this issue for a long time. But with the "big vote" on it coming up tomorrow, I decided to swing my legs over to the "pro" side of the fence. I'm uncertain whether or not this is a wise choice - seeing the pro side as merely being a lesser of two evils. But beyond this issue, I think the FCC has to do a LOT of work to convince me they're really in favor of "fair" treatment for the average at-home broadband user. Let me make a comparative example.
Let's say you went to a car lot to buy a new car. And when you found a car you liked, you looked at its sticker. Prominently on the sticker, you see EPA estimates of highway/city mileage on the car. But ... what if you instead saw, in bold letters:UP TO 100 MPG !!!
Descriptors like "up to" and "as fast as" have long been an advertising trick - allowing them to lie by omission. Technically speaking, 1 MPG would be within the definition of "UP TO 100 MPG !!!." And if all you saw was that descriptor, you'd likely assume this was a "highway" estimate - leaving you in the dark as to how badly your mileage would be in "city" driving.
That is exactly
how broadband is advertised today ... giving you an "up to" estimate on download speeds while not mentioning upload speeds. Not that he was listening, but I wrote to Commissioner Wheeler - telling him that this advertising practice needs to be stopped - and that the FCC had a responsibility to "require" ISPs to show FCC-estimated download/upload speeds in their advertising - no less than the EPA-estimated highway/city MPG is provided on every new car sticker.
Hehe, my note to Wheeler might have been in vain. But, it did make me feel better to have said something to somebody about it.
There are other issues surrounding ISP marketing practices - especially in rural areas like mine (Vader, WA). There's only one ISP in Vader - CenturyLink DSL. Satellite Internet is the only other option. CenturyLink provides residents with "up to 10mbps" service. Translation = 4-5mbps down, 300-500kbps up. And that's on a "good" day. But on this issue, the free-market might solve things faster than the FCC.
Originally planned for this year, "COMMstellation" low-earth-orbit satellites will be launched (now slated for 2018). Unlike the current medium-earth-orbit scenarios with high latency issues, these satellites should have 7ms latency - making them usable for VOIP applications. And download/upload speeds available might make even the fastest current ISPs blush. Of course, until they do launch, this is all within the realm of science-fiction. But, hope springs eternal.