To start, yes, it is the traditional ISPs, the carriers, that we're talking about in terms of concerns about violations around net neutrality.
What they became concerned with a number of years ago was that they were seeing much of the value in these networks being accrued by other players. You can use your Internet service to make those phone calls, to access video, to engage in education, to do all these different things. The way that some of the carriers used to describe it is that they didn't want to be left just providing a dumb pipe: “All we do is provide you with the ability to transmit those bits and somebody else gets all the economic advantage.”
They said, “Wouldn't it be great if I get to share in some of your revenue simply for transferring your bits?” The response from some of the players was, “Well, hold on a second, I am paying for you to transfer my bits. I have to subscribe to the service and I've paid for all these services.” What they were hoping to do was to leverage, in a sense, their gatekeeper status as the intermediary to say that they can actually charge even more and find different ways to do that.
I understand why, economically, they would have incentives to do that in the same way that they might have incentives to favour some of their own content or to stop or make it more difficult to access other kinds of content, but that's not a good enough reason for us to allow it to happen. In fact, that provides us with a very strong, compelling reason that we shouldn't be allowing that to happen.
The type of robust Internet ecosystem we've seen emerge today that has had that transformative effect on everything from commerce to education to culture has really benefited dramatically from that ability to ensure that a bit is a bit is a bit and I get to ensure that my content gets treated in the same way that some other giant's does. The fear is that net neutrality will do away with that bedrock principle that has allowed many of these businesses to emerge.