​GM Makes The Case Against Wireless Net Neutrality

Illustration for article titled ​GM Makes The Case Against Wireless Net Neutrality

The idea that every site, every service, every bit of data that flows through the wondrous tubes of the Internet should be treated fairly is what Net Neutrality is all about. And GM isn't quite on board, at least for mobile data.


GM's rationale isn't altruistic. It needs data to power it current and next generation connected systems. If all data is treated the same, that could hamper those services.

Reuters obtained a letter sent to the FCC by GM's Global Connected Consumer exec, Harry Lightsey III, making its case.

"The coming years will see rapid innovation at the intersection of cars and mobile communications," Lightsey said in the letter. "By needlessly constraining the latitude our mobile network operator suppliers have in delivering their connectivity to owners of our vehicles, you would also constrain the innovations we are seeking to provide to our customers."

The appeal from GM comes as the FCC considers whether it should eliminate the exemptions on mobile carriers to treat different kinds of data as they see fit. After a court rejected the 2010 version of those rules in January, mobile data blocking is up for grabs, just like the wired connection coming into your house. And GM argues that's not going to work in a car.

"From our point of view, mobile broadband being delivered to a car moving at 75 mph down a highway — or for that matter, suck in a massive spontaneous traffic jam — is a fundamentally different phenomenon from a wired broadband connection to a consumer's home, and merits continued consideration under distinct rules that take this in to account," Lightsey says.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated GM's position on net neutrality. After obtaining the original letter sent to FCC, we've amended the text and are following up with GM representatives.



The questions for Net Neutrality opponents like you is: Who will be determining what data is more important; and are you prepared to pay more for faster data that's considered important?

Some data hogs, like music and streaming video services, are unimportant to me. It wouldn't matter to me if they cost more, as I don't use them.

And streaming services have nearly unlimited ability to broadcast over equipment and transmission lines (i.e. The Internet) they currently pay nothing to utilize.

And, because my neighbors use these services, it takes away bandwidth from me, slowing down my Internet experience (particularly around 7pm-10pm) as the neighborhood is fed off a common broadband source.

So you might think I oppose Net Neutrality. But I don't.

Here's why: Because I'm afraid that when Internet service providers are given the freedom to charge streaming services for priority use of the Internet, they'll be very greedy.

I fear that ISPs will decide which content providers I enjoy are unimportant (because they don't pay the higher use tolls for priority) and slow them down. What good is my paying for 25 mBPS speeds, if the sites I enjoy visiting won't pay the ISPs for priority transmission?

Should there be a middle ground? Maybe. But I don't see it happening, if the FCC allows ISPs to determine what's important on the Internet.

For that reason, I support Net Neutrality.