How this video ever got through Burger King brass I have no idea. It is incredibly dumb.
No doubt somewhere some marketing company discovered that “net neutrality” was an issue that some people cared about. (Even if they largely misunderstand it.) As such they came up with this ad. However, in the process they radically misinformed the public.
Watch the video below if you haven’t yet.
There are a million things wrong with this video but let’s look at the most obvious bit of silliness.
If Burger King actually implemented the rules it says are the equivalent to life without net neutrality it would be out of business pretty quickly. No one would pay $26 for a “super fast” Whopper. They’d buy a burger somewhere else. And even if there were no other burger joints in town many people would just stop going to Burger King because they couldn’t afford it. They’d grill burgers at home. Or they might even start a fast food place of their own offering burgers at 1/5 the price, thereby undercutting Burger King and forcing Burger King to lower its prices.
The same would happen with an ISP that inconvenienced its customers and raised costs to levels outside of what the market can bear. Comcast would soon be in trouble.
So the fundamental premise of the video is incorrect. Frankly it smells like a cynical attempt to cash in by exploiting the fear of people who don’t know better.
By the way the “last mile” of the Internet is usually built by Internet service providers. They own this stretch of highway. Many big content companies, Netflix being one, wanted to be able to access this “last mile” at the same price as you and me even though their content tends to hog the bandwidth of Internet service providers. These big companies basically want to be subsidized by the Internet service providers, and by extension you and me.
Basically in a nutshell this is the deal. – Streaming movies take up a lot of bandwidth. The Internet service providers (ISPs) provide the bandwidth. The ISPs built much of the information superhighway. On this highway Netflix and other streaming services want to push their products through without paying for the clog factor they create on a highway they do not own. The ISPs argue that if Netflix and co want to use their highway, and create potential traffic jams of data Netflix should have to pay for the rerouting the ISPs must do to get the information through. But this would hurt Netflix’s bottom line, and this is why the Netflix and Google lawyers went to the Obama administration to essentially get the government to take the highways built by the ISPs by force. (Or at least regulate them to death soft fascism style.) Net neutrality is a jack. And the PR people for Netflix and co have manipulated the public’s addiction to virtual circuses very effectively. As the DHH said in their song in the 1990s – “TV Drug of a Nation.” People are afraid that their drug is going to go away. It’s not. If anything things will be smoother in the future.
And it won’t matter at all in almost no time anyway as wireless providers will be providing Internet (we are told) at 100 times the current high end speeds by 2020. That’s practically tomorrow. This is innovation that might have been put on hold had the “net neutrality” rules gone into effect.
BK won’t sell you a Pepsi or an RC Cola – because they have an exclusive contract with Coca-Cola. Where’s the Neutrality?
And to further flesh out the utter stupidity of the one-size-fits-all model of bandwidth speed – where “all bits are treated equal”:
“What’s a truer depiction of Burger King under Title II utility regulation? A Burger King menu with only one product at one price – an expensive all-you-can-eat meal. For those ordering 10 triple-Whoppers and onion rings, with extra large milkshakes, it might be a good deal.
“For those seeking one salad or one chicken sandwich, and in a hurry, the high-priced all-you-can-eat plan would be a terrible idea. The all-you-can-eat subsidy would attract all the gluttons in town and discourage the customer seeking a quick snack.
“Gluttons would clog the line with their huge orders, and others would have to wait. The supplier of niche content – the small salad in this case – would suffer, too.
“The ad thus had the congestion problem exactly backwards. Diverse products at varied price points encourage economical consumption and incentivize investments in faster, more capacious networks.
“Everybody wins – Internet user, network provider, and content creator. Yes, in the future there will be some forms of priority service for real-time applications – think telemedicine and virtual reality – but the higher prices for these services will help pay for more capacity overall.