Over the summer I mentioned a filer in the Federal Communications Commission’s proceeding on net neutrality who, identifying himself as a Internet radio host, complained that the unreliability of his broadband account forced him to resort to a more expensive ISDN line. “Neither my telco, Smart City nor Comcast can provide fast consistent speeds for decent quality audio over IP, unless I am will to pay more than double what I am currently paying for ‘business grade’ service,” he wrote. “We don’t need more hidden levels of service. What we do need is clear consistent service with total price transparency.”
Now I’m noticing more comments citing the importance of some variant of Internet radio as a reason for the agency to maintain strong open Internet rules. Many of these submissions obviously come from some advocacy group’s template (I’m not sure which), but the users have individualized their statements to emphasize their own investment in ‘Net radio, or the value that they place on the service.
“As a small streaming radio entrepreneur, I have no ability to even consider paying extra fees in order for my small station to continue being easily accessible to my small (but growing) global audience,” writes an online broadcaster from Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
“I manage two non commercial educational radio stations that rely on the internet for studio to transmitter communication, and streaming audio to service our audience that live or work outside of our broadcast area,” explains a resident of Santa Rosa, California. “Our transmitter sites already have the reduced regulation of wireless internet, the most expensive and least reliable part of our broadcast chain is that final wireless leg.”
Here is a comment from West Hills, California: “The Internet is important to me because, as a podcaster, I need to know that there will not be barriers to entry for the new ideas and services that I hope to bring to the marketplace. If ISP subscribers have an easier time loading websites of existing companies than my internet radio station, there’s no way that I will be able to compete or succeed.”
And here’s a statement from Newark, Ohio: “The Internet is important to me because, as a world citizen, I need to know that there will not be barriers to entry for the new ideas and services that broaden human knowledge. If ISP subscribers have an easier time loading websites of large for profit corporations, then other sources of knowledge like National Public Radio (NPR) will be unable or less able to provide other views of the world. I don’t want the future of the world driven by profit.”
Finally, a resident of Michigan writes writes that “the Internet is important to me because it gives myself and like minded people a voice over Internet radio.”
The big online music/talk streamers have for the most part been quiet about net neutrality questions, but smaller operators and fans seem far less reluctant to join the conversation.