After Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, repealed Net Neutrality, companies are beginning to treat internet packages like a cellphone plan, adding bundles to “better suit” the content that their users enjoy.
Since its earliest days protecting the every-day user of the internet from “fast lanes” on the internet, Net Neutrality was important, and to this day, many of us still advocate for its importance behind a free and accessible internet. Under the Obama-era law, Net Neutrality kept ISP’s from treating your internet like a cellphone plan or any other plan they can think of.
Now, it seems, ISPs are finally comfortable with seeing that Net Neutrality is dead, and the unlikeliest of them all has announced that they are testing a “gamer focused” bundle, that will ensure that gamers get the most out of their service from Cox Cable, dubbed “Cox Elite Gamer” service for $15 more dollars a month. Yep, expect that internet bill to now exceed $100 USD depending on your bundle. Awesome, huh?
While game developers, netcode technicians, and even publishers have worked as hard as they can to offer a clean and level playing field, have done all they can do. They’ve banned cheaters, they’ve balanced the rules for their games, and they’ve even made sure that users can’t cheat their way to victory or even buy a way into that victory lap. Except, Cox’s Elite Gamer service, will do just that.
It’s a fast lane that people warned the FCC about before net neutrality protections appeared. The internet was founded upon the ideals that users wouldn’t be charged by their companies, that it would remain fair, free, and useful to all who could use it. Unfortunately, companies don’t want to be bothered with that ‘nonsense’.
Cox has even gone as far to outline what their plan will offer, including 34 percent less lag, 55 percent fewer ping spikes, and even 45 percent less jitter than its currently existing service. To be honest, this sounds intentional, and it seems rather manufactured, as a heavy internet user myself. With heavy hitter titles like Apex Legends, Overwatch, and Fortnite dominating the network, it sounds like this gaming-specific network won’t be hindered by performance restrictions that are being put in place.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you can expect Netflix, Hulu, or another streaming service to be treated as fairly as it was before. They’ll probably have a package of sorts of their own. But Cox is ensuring that gamers will have an advantage over those looking to pay $15 more a month in order to enjoy their games, which stands against what Cox stated in 2017 to the Associated Press, where they denied any plans to introduce fast lanes of any sort and would keep a fair and free internet.
Unfortunately, this also means that, while games do compensate for lag, you can expect this to become a bigger problem once other ISPs see the “success” that Cox is having and decides to implement their own bundles if and when possible. If this is the case, it may be time to reconsider what Net Neutrality did for us and what it could do for us had it never been repealed.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.