How the FCC/Comcast Decision Could Hurt Storytelling

Neon Open Sign

Last week, a federal appeals court declared that the Federal Communications Commission lacked the authority to tell Comcast to not block certain uses of its Internet access services.

This strains the FCC’s plan to expand Internet access across the country, but it says it will push forward. We’ve seen the answer to the problem of wide-ranging Internet access and who will pay for it isn’t an easy one. It’s not just about access to high-speed Internet, but demand and economics.

As the New York Times article on the decision outlines, there’s positives and negatives to Internet service provider’s charging and not charging content creators for use of broadband cables. This would create “fast” and “slow” lanes on the Internet, and might limit certain types of content to users.

Only time will tell what will happen, but if ISPs start restricting access to content providers and begin charging them to distribute content, net neutrality will take a big hit. And so might storytelling.

  • Some users may not be able to afford access to high bandwidth type content like videos.
  • Media companies may have to pass the extra surcharge in Internet fees to the consumer, which wouldn’t be a good thing for ailing legacy media companies.
  • Smaller companies that provide new, innovative content may be strained with higher prices to distribute content, thus limiting creativity.

With so much at stake for storytelling, this is an issue for any multimedia storyteller to watch.

Image by Lockstockb.

Note: This post is a short assignment for my class in Contemporary Media Issues about about network neutrality and the current debate surrounding it.