Net neutrality is more than just a word. It is the lie detector keeping the big internet producers true to their customers. Well … let’s back up a bit. In 2015 the FCC, more formally known as the Federal Communications Commission, passed an addition to the already existing net neutrality law. This addition was called Title II of net neutrality and was put forth during the Obama administration. It prevented internet companies from blocking and throttling websites and stopped the use of “fast lanes” allowing you to pay to get priority over others who don’t pay. In the article “FCC announces plan to reverse Title II net neutrality” it states, “Pai claimed Title II classification hurt “low-income, rural, and urban neighborhoods” the most and had the effect of “accelerating the practice of digital redlining,” because these neighborhoods would be the first areas cut when internet providers cut back their spending.” This reasoning has no real backup since according to the stock of several big internet companies like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable show that their stock has shown steady increase since 2015. This indicates that there would be no real reason for them to cut internet service to rural areas. While internet service provider’s want you to think that their market is suffering from Title II they are not suffering at all. If anything, Title II has brought in more consumers to the market because they think it is more reliable knowing that everyone gets the exact same internet.
You just got home from work and all you want to do if finish watching Stranger Things. You turn on your computer and try to load the Netflix main screen with no success. You try two more times without any luck. You ponder why this could be because when you go on Hulu there is no loading time what so ever. Since you can’t access Netflix anymore you have to get a Hulu account which costs. The reason you were not able to access Netflix anymore is because Comcast, your internet service provider or ISP, signed a contract with Hulu. Since Title II of the net neutrality act was removed they can throttle the Netflix website and then let the Hulu website run perfectly. Or you want to search up what Albert Einstein’s last theory was so you go to Chrome and type the question into the Google search bar. Google keeps loading until it shows an internet not working page. You try Internet Explorer with the same success as before with Google. It is not until you try to use Fire Fox that you are able to get results to your question. From now on you only use Fire Fox because it is the only search engine that works. Again, this is because you use Verizon which has a contract with Fire Fox blocking all of the other search engines. This would not be a problem if Title II was not removed since Title II prohibits ISP’s to throttle or block websites and apps. These theoretical situations are going to become reality more and more as Title II is removed. This way ISP’s can control what they want you to use or not. This will not only effect what you are able to see but this will also effect internet companies. For example, since Hulu has a contract with Comcast, Netflix could be greatly affected. Everyone with Comcast is going to use Hulu now leaving Netflix unused by Comcast users. This will hurt the Netflix market. The same thing would happen with the search engines. Since Verizon has a contract with Fire Fox, Companies like Google and Internet Explorer will greatly be hurt market wise. The removal of Title II would make it easy for ISP’s to manipulate you without you knowing it. Netflix and others like Google have come to the same solution and together commented that, “The current FCC net neutrality rules are working and these consumer protections should not be changed”
Small Internet Service Providers
Well we know where the big internet providers stand but what about the small internet providers that serve anywhere from less to a thousand to about 100 thousand. 22 of these small companies composed a letter to the FCC saying that the net neutrality law only makes nuances for them to deal with. Using this as his holy grail Pai, FCC chairmen, argued that, “Heavy-handed regulations are especially tough on new entrants and small businesses that don’t have the armies of lawyers and compliance officers that large, well-established companies do… So, if we want to encourage smaller competitors to enter into the broadband marketplace or expand, we must end Title II” This is a good argument…only if it were more than 22 small companies that would have been involved. It was a good effort and you can see where they are coming from, but at the same time Pai over stated the value of the letter. 22 small companies wanted to end Title II of the net neutrality law while 40 big internet companies, and not to mention the millions of people who emailed and phoned congress, wanted to stop the removal of Title II. Small companies are important for the economy of the U.S. and it would be bad if they can’t “expand” but 22 companies hardly speak for the thousands of small internet service provider’s all around the United States.
At the end of the day removing Title II was a quick and rash decision that has done nothing except infuriating thousands of Americans. The FCC, with the former lawyer of Verizon Ajit Pai as chairmen, has only tried to serve the interest of the few, in this case the ISP. Not overlooking their decision, the Trump administration has once again managed to be in the spot light for unnecessary controversy.
Kastrenakes, Jacob. “FCC announces plan to reverse Title II net neutrality.” The Verge, The Verge, 26 Apr. 2017, www.theverge.com/2017/4/26/15437840/fcc-plans-end-title-ii-net-neutrality.
Kastrenakes, Jacob. “The FCC says net neutrality destroys small ISPs. So has it?” The Verge, The Verge, 13 July 2017, www.theverge.com/2017/7/13/15949920/net-neutrality-killing-small-isps.