Actually, Elliquiy is EXACTLY the type of page that would be affected. The biggest downside to this ruling is that the ISPs can charge differently for different types of access both to the consumers and to the owners of websites.
Let's say they make it 3 tiers.
Tier 1 is the big boys - Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc. You get the same speeds you always got with them.
Tier 2 is the smaller companies - Local stores, smaller computer companies, game companies. They're slower than Tier 1 and it is noticeable but it is not slooooowwww.
Tier 3 are the independents. - Pages made by everyday people who have bought server space somewhere and that's about it. These will be lucky to load at dial up speeds.
The companies will charge website owners to move up Tiers. They will also charge consumers to have higher speeds on tier 2 and 3, basically you'd pay more to have what we have now.
This will have many effects. 1) It will drastically lower traffic at places like Elliquiy as people get tired of waiting for the page to load. It will also stifle the emergence of new businesses on the web because not only will you have all the traditional fees to deal with (credit card processing, LLC formation, legal fees, web server fees) but now if you want any chance at competing you'll have to pay more to the ISPs for them to load your page faster. Oh AND you'll have to pay to each ISP. Why do you think companies like Google, Amazon, and others are against this? They know that even for them it will drastically increase their cost of business.
The thought that’s been cropping up first to me, personally, about this – being mainly a ‘consumer’ and online poster/communicator, not a site manager, owner or moderator of any kind – is the risk of drift towards a cable-tv packaged internet
. A system of walled gardens, sort of, where ISPs and their deals with site owners and companies would largely decide what the ordinary internet user in any local place would get to see for their monthly fee. And a much less transparent system than it is today.
Many people (and many companies and households) use a relatively limited array of websites and web functionalities. My parents don’t ever use chat/IM programs or chatrooms, almost never read personal blogs or dedicated discussion forums (or Facebook), don’t use gaming sites, dating sites or sex sites – in fact they barely ever use truly realtime interactive features beyond booking tickets or buying books and dvd’s at Amazon (or similar sites around here). For e-mail, they use locally installed programs like Outlook, not web-based mail. It’s 98% read-only, and reading (or occasionally watching) at well established sites, and they’re probably fairly typical of hundreds of millions of people over sixty. Even with a slightly wider use, I bet an ISP could easily sell a “standard package” giving quick and good access to the following groups of sites – and (in smaller print) much less speedy access or no access at al, to other kinds of sites beyond them – and supposing it was a U.S. ISP:
- search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and their affiliated sites
- major computing/phone companies like Apple, Microsoft, AT&T, Dell, Vodafone etc
- a “wide selection” of newspapers, magazines and news sites” (including a hundred US newspapers and some foreign ones, plus many magazine titles, but still at the discretion of your ISP)
- government and public sites: let’s say all .gov sites hosted within the US plus the main state sites of one other country, of your choice
- major travel, vacation, booking, retail and entertainment sites (but excepting Netflix, Spotify and so on)
- a number of tv and radio network web sites
- a couple of leading gaming sites
- Facebook, Hotmail and some other social sites and the like.
Access to anything beyond those would be severely slowed down or disappearing into a cloud of uncertainty (unless you pay thirty dollars more a month for the next tier). Or effectively cut off. I bet many people would be okay with that kind of package, and of course the ISP could argue that there was a trade-off between “luxury full access to the web for everyone” (what we have now) and the realities of clogged internet highways if everyone wants to watch Netflix or play EVE-online all the time, but it would also spell a major cut in the freedom of ordinary users to pick what they want, to roam freely – and the freedom to compete with your own unestablished site. Personally I don’t want anything from my ISP except the connection bandwidth itself plus assistance if there is trouble with the modem or the local network, it’s only that I pay them for when it comes to the web: no selection, nannying or cutting up of what I can access.
Maybe this is something that’s some way into the future in any case, but I think it’s a real concern, and it would bump solidly into the idea of the internet as an open-access space, a medium where it is fairly easy for the end user to get to see what one might find and for content providers and site owners to get in and show their stuff.