Everything Everywhere ponders discrimination by packet
Some packets are more equal than others
Everything Everywhere has rather upset Which? by mooting the idea of tariffs based on services, rather than raw quantities of data.
The premise is that a tariff might come bundled with a limited amount of data, but as much YouTube as you like, or only count data used visiting web sites outside a prescribed list.
Such practices would be more controversial if operators weren't already using them, although operators are careful to word it as we have above.
Their presentation contrasts with how the "net neutrality" crowd sees it, as Which?'s expert demonstrates.
"Allowing ISPs to develop tariffs with restricted access to the web could open the door to discrimination and harm innovation," says the Which? net neutrality expert Rob Reid.
He demonstrated his ignorance of the existing tariffs by adding, "I oppose the possibility of tariffs being introduced which remove [net neutral] right[s] under the veneer of offering consumers choice".
Most of the UK operators already provide access to their own portals outside of the data allowance, often including video and audio content as well as paid-for applications and content which can be downloaded without additional charge. Three provides access to Facebook (via the 0.facebook.com service) outside users' data caps and without charge, which is exactly the kind of model being suggested by Everything Everywhere.
Such models are inevitable as mobile operators try to replace the declining voice revenue, and mobile operators are already distinguished from fixed-line providers in their mandatory blocking of pornography amongst other things.
Everything Everywhere's are part of a softening-up process, to get end users comfortable with the idea: no-one is suggesting that operators will cut off parts of the web from customers who are prepared to pay, only that access to some parts might be cheaper than others. ®
"why are you encrypting your traffic"
Because it's my bank accounting / trading system / tax form / doctor's record / any site with personal information on it, of course.
"https" ring a bell?
And it's still not right, a tariff connection to the internet assumes that everyone is in the lovely and comfortable middle classes and can pay for this wacky access to this obviously premium and luxury service called the interwebs and the only thing that stops them paying is because they don't have to.
I'm unhappy because once again the poor are told they aren't worthy to have access to education, culture or social services because of their inability to access large amounts of reoccurring and secure funding. After all giving fair access would just be prejudicial to their standing and make them insolent to their betters.
Only the well off are calling for prejudicial fees after all.
Which! what who?
Offering access to some stuff for free is bad how exactly? Because it implies that some things might not be free? I thought which? was supposed to be the champion of empirical common sense, not some kind of idealist manifesto.
The sooner we get data tariffs which offer customers real choice about what they are buying the better. Most customers who are paying for unlimited are using almost nothing - does that mean they are being ripped off because they are subsidising the extremists who overload the network?
And while which? is shooting from the idealist hip, why not aim at Sky, who should OBVIOUSLY be made to give all their premium channels for nothing too.
Makes me want to puke.