The Abolition of Net Neutrality

Next week the head of the Federal Communications Commission, Aji Pai, is expected to release the details of his plan to reverse a 2015 net neutrality order which reclassified internet service providers (ISP) as utilities and required that they must be regulated as such. In this order, ISP’s were barred from intentionally slowing or blocking web content. While the details of the plan are expected to be released next week, the final vote on the proposal is to take place at the FCC’s December 14th meeting.

What is Net Neutrality?
Net Neutrality is the idea that all traffic on the internet must be treated equally. All web content is delivered at the same cost. These basic protections have been crucial in fueling the growth of the internet since its creation.

Why is the abolition of net neutrality so bad?
  • Monopoly concerns
    • Just a handful of companies already make up a virtual monopoly on the industry. 96% of Americans have access to 2 or less cable providers and those providers do their best to not compete against one another. Americans already pay more for internet service than almost any other country, yet we get slower download speeds. The abolition of net neutrality will allow ISPs, such as Time Warner/Spectrum cable, who already engage in the streaming video services to virtually eliminate their competition. Time Warner could and would make the delivery of Netflix streaming videos slow and unwatchable forcing customers to use Spectrum’s streaming services. The abolition of net neutrality will allow the handful of ISPs to tighten their monopoly even further.
  • Consumer concerns
    • Besides eliminating services which consumers know and love, such as NetFlix or Hulu, ISPs would be able to charge you extra to access your favorite websites. Think of how you have to pay extra to get the additional TV channels you want, like sports packages or HBO.
  • Freedom of speech concerns
    • ISPs will be able to block websites. They will be able to manipulate what information users have access to. They would be able to slow down or block websites that are critical of them. They can use these tools to manipulate free speech. In the age of Trump, do we really want giant cable corporations deciding what information can be delivered to us and at what speed?
  • Small business concerns
    • ISPs will create different highways for information. One slow lane and one fast lane. This would allow large corporations to operate in the fast lane and would force small businesses, who can’t afford it, into the slow lane, making them less competitive.


If Net Neutrality is so bad, why is this rule being overturned?

Here's why:

A handful of giant corporations have spent years bribing politicians to bring an end to net neutrality. You can call it whatever you want, campaign contributions, lobbying or funding Super PACs, but I prefer to call it what it truly is, corruption. Other than these few corporations, the abolition of net neutrality is beneficial to no one. This is not a partisan issue. The abolition of net neutrality would be a disaster for our country.
             




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