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HBO a-la-carte sounds delicious. HBO GO’s success will be another battle in net neutrality

For proponents of net neutrality HBO may be the hero they want, deserve or really need. A Home Box Office of movies and genre pushing original programming since 1972, HBO and its parent company Time Warner recently announced a first of its kind internet-only subscription service for the premium cable channel.
 
Dubbed as a standalone over-the-top service the move would allow consumers to bypass your local cable (Comcast, Cox, Verizon FiOS, etc) or satellite (DirecTV and Dish) providers and purchase HBO directly from the source. Premium content without the rubbing the elbows of a middle man is an aggressive move by HBO.
 
Backed by one of the two TV media giants, Time Warner, HBO’s move to the left of traditional content providers is another peek behind the current net neutrality debate and or rated-R curtain. The principle of net neutrality is not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.

With cable TV and internet often bundled to consumers, HBO Go’s streaming speed could in theory be reduced to a slow clumsy baby steps if the company upsets too many TV providers. Netflix has already had to cozy up with ISP companies and HBO will likely have to do the same if it wants to keep its shiny new over-the-top service moving at consumer friendly pace.
 
Internet “fast lanes”, in which certain sites or software would be granted higher speeds for a price, is a huge sticking point in the net neutrality argument. Paying for playing on an improved pothole free internet road is a slippery slope that could either lead to the internet feeling like a place of have and have-nots sites or just a way for larger companies like HBO to expand their data cap while freeing up the lower tier “lanes” for all the other sites out there.
 
In the United States the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently weighing two options for internet service providers: permitting fast and slow broadband lanes or reclassify broadband as a telecommunication service, thereby preserving net neutrality.  
 

 
Starting sometime in 2015 and without a set price point, this HBO Go Championship Edition (tentative made-up title) allows the company to target cord-cutters as well as indoctrinated Netflix and Hulu junkies. On a smaller scale the WWE Network and UFC Fight Pass each debuted in 2014 with hopes of targeting the same type consumer used to dealing with Netflix and identified themselves as “cord cutting hipsters of combat sports”.
 
With cable TV and internet often bundled to consumers, HBO Go’s streaming speed could in theory be reduced to a slow clumsy baby steps if the company upsets too many TV providers. Netflix has already had to cozy up with ISP companies and HBO will likely have to do the same if it wants to keep its shiny new over-the-top service moving at consumer friendly pace.
 
Long on the side of the aisle with cable boxes, wires, and stringent program schedules HBO is now first major cable programmer stepping towards a movie ticket shaped cloud of content that floats to consumers when needed. 
 
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