2015 Predictions: The Year in Internet

You know, that internet thing seemed like it was finally catching on. My predictions for 2015 are pretty dire. The internet came to most homes about 20 years ago, and at least in the United States, that will probably be thought of as “the golden age.”

It’s my opinion that the FCC will continue with its harebrained scheme to dismantle net neutrality, and that will lead to higher prices and have a serious effect on smaller web sites like SolidSignal.com. Without the protections that net neutrality offers, a bigger site can come in and pay for a super-fast route to your home while our site is left limping along with a slow, dial-up-type experience for our users. That is, unless we choose to pay each and every major internet service provider for some sort of priority access.

This will also mean price hikes for streaming services like Amazon Video, Netflix, and Hulu, since they’ll likely pay whatever’s asked of them to make sure their services stay nice and speedy.

Since most of the US really only has one or two choices for internet service, prices will keep going up even though those service providers will be piling up the profits on the back end due to charging hapless and honest internet retailers for “premium” speeds.

I also think that service providers will continue to drag their feet on wireline upgrades, focusing instead on improving wireless speeds. Wires are so expensive to maintain and everyone would love it if you would just get your internet wirelessly. Providing unlimited internet for one low price is such a drag, according to the major companies, and they would much rather hit you for every gigabyte you download.

One side effect of the move from wired to wireless service in the home is that speeds will either go down or stay the same; while the rest of the world is moving toward 100Mbps to the home, the move to wireless service could mean average home speeds drop to under 25Mbps here in the US. That could put a real damper on streaming 4K video.

So, it’s true, I’m not terribly bullish about what 2015 brings for the future of the internet. Let’s all hope I’m wrong. What do you think?