Net Neutrality – Rest In Peace
I guess it should come as no surprise that Trump and his Federal Communications Commission chairman, Ajit Pai, wants to kill net neutrality. At a closed-door meeting in Washington Wednesday, Pai outlined what The New York Times described as “a sweeping plan to loosen the government’s oversight of high-speed internet providers, a rebuke of a landmark policy approved two years ago to ensure that all online content is treated the same by the companies that deliver broadband service to Americans.”
What is Net Neutrality?
According to Wikipedia, Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.
In 2015 the courts ruled that High-speed internet service can be defined as a utility, a federal court has ruled in a sweeping decision clearing the way for more rigorous policing of broadband providers and greater protections for web users. The decision affirmed the government’s view that broadband is as essential as the phone and power and should be available to all Americans, rather than a luxury that does not need close government supervision.
What’s the Risk?
- More Free Data Plans: If net neutrality goes out the window, so will the restrictions limiting those free data plans, making it easier for customers to access some content — but content their providers favor.
- Internet fast lanes: Without the net neutrality rules, consumer groups and smaller internet companies fear broadband providers could offer faster internet speeds to companies that pay up and slow down those don’t or can’t pony up. Known as paid prioritization, it’s the post-net neutrality scenario that most worries the rules’ supporters.
- More challenges for the little guy: Smaller internet service providers and internet startups could be in for a tough time. Net neutrality critics say that without the neutrality rules, the playing field will favor established or dominant companies — such as Charter Communications, which acquired Time Warner Cable, or web giants like Google.
- A new regulator for telecoms: Under Pai’s proposal, broadband companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would no longer be regulated by the FCC. The chairman wants to remove their designation as “common carriers,” which allowed his agency to regulate them like public utilities. Undoing that would cede authority over broadband providers back to the FTC. But critics argue the FTC lacks the teeth to effectively regulate telecommunications companies in the way the FCC can.
In short, Net Neutrality is there to keep the Internet landscape fair and level for all users.
Whether you use the Internet for personal or business, the concept of keeping the Internet free and open to everyone should be important to you. In an age where more and more people rely on the Internet for their news, banking, and entertainment. There is considerable evidence to support the idea that Internet Service Providers (ISP) should be classified as a utility vice a luxury service, and regulated as such.
Please call your elected representative and tell them you support Net Neutrality and not reverse the current regulations.
Following are some links for more information on Net Neutrality:
Rob Truman, USN Ret.