>There is another side of the problem though. One of the arguments raised against net neutrality is that ISPs wouldn’t be able to monetize the information they can gather from customers. The internet consists of three parts: consumer → ISP->”content provider”. And increasingly powerful content providers (or gatherers) like Facebook, Google and others have a huge advantage over ISPs because they collect any information they want and they package and sell it any way they want. ISPs can’t. And probably shouldn’t but if one is pro net neutrality they also need to address Facebook and their companions AT THE SAME TIME.
I believe that comparing ISPs to content providers is like comparing apples to oranges here.
Let’s equate ISPs with an older, simpler counterpart: the Postal Service. The Postal service and ISPs both do EXACTLY the same thing. They both operate and maintain a distribution network for data. The Postal Service transports data in the form of paper letters and packages. ISPs transport data in the form of packets. Now, if the Postal Service can’t open your letters and sell your information, why should ISP’s be allowed to?
Well then, how does an ISP make money? The same way the Postal Service does. They charge for the transport of the data. You pay 35 cents for a stamp and you pay $80/month for 200mb/s download speed.
But maintaining Internet infrastructure is expensive! How are ISPs going to make a profit if they have to maintain all of this infrastructure? I think we can say that running a physical postal service is orders of magnitude more expensive than running an ISP. Postal services employ more people, build and maintain more physical brick and mortar buildings, and buy and maintain more vehicles including airplanes and cargo ships. All of this and the Postal Service is still not selling your data.
But why does google get to profit off using the ISP’s infrastructure? Because they are the end destination. When you send someone a letter, that person can do anything they want to do with it as long as you agreed to it. You signed up for google. You agreed to their terms of service. You signed your privacy away. That’s your fault. That’s not to mention that google is paying exorbitant amounts of money for internet service at their thousands of data centers around the world.
ISPs don’t want you to know this, but nobody is using their pipes for free. If you are connected to the internet, an ISP is getting paid by at least 2 parties; the sender and the receiver.
My point is, you have a choice whether or not to use services like google and facebook who violate your privacy and sell your data. You don’t have a choice but to use an ISP if you want to access the Internet. That’s the problem. That is why ISPs should not be able to gather and sell your data being sent over the wire.
I hope I helped some people understand the situation.