Net Neutrality Definition

Yesterday saw an Internet-wide day of action with thousands of websites, big and small, including my own, highlighting the current FCC attack on net neutrality. New FCC Chairman, Ajit V. Pai is intent on deregulating Internet service providers, which would allow the likes of Verizon and Comcast to do all sorts of bad things to its customers access to the Internet, including blocking or slowing specific websites.

Net neutrality guarantees that all Internet traffic is treated equally, which was not the case before Tom Wheeler’s FCC reclassified ISP’s as Title II common carriers. Netflix was being artificially slowed by Comcast. Netflix paid Comcast for faster access to its network as the video streaming service was losing customers using Comcast’s Internet service because of the poor Netflix performance on its network.

Customers of Internet service providers pay a lot of money for high-speed access to the Internet and should the FCC deregulate ISP’s, these mega-cable networks could start charging extra for people who want to use video streaming services such as Youtube, Netflix and Hulu, or even TV streaming services such as Playstation VUE and Sling TV to force customers back to their own expensive cable TV packages.

It could have an even bigger impact, without Title II regulation, Internet service providers could block websites like news services they don’t like, or even blogs like mine who speak out against their service or even their beliefs. In simple terms, they could censor the Internet, just like the Chinese do, which creates an effective state-sponsored Internet service, which I’m sure the Trump administration would love to see.

Deregulation would allow ISP’s to sell your private Internet usage data to direct marketers and inject adverts into your Internet browsing experience, including hijacking 404 pages to display their partners’ message. Even worse, for example, they could redirect traffic from a liberal news website to conservative news websites to spread their own message, blocking free speech and the free press movement.

If, we are to deregulate ISP’s, which FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai is likely to force through, despite the millions of comments on the FCC website opposing the revocation on Title II classification for ISP’s. We need to have true competition across the whole country, unlike today where the country is carved up between the major cable companies meaning you’re stuck with whatever cable company operates in the area.

The big cable companies across the country want to block local authorities from building or allowing for municipal fiber networks. The state I reside in, Kansas tabled a bill that would block services like Google Fiber from setting up shop in other Kansas cities, such as Wichita, after the popularity of Google’s service in Kansas City took business away from the incumbent providers Cox Communications and AT&T.

This is why we need to preserve net neutrality and Title II to stop these monopoly cable companies from running roughshod over customers. The internet was designed to be free and open, not a curated resource controlled by gatekeepers, i.e. the big cable companies. This would be the start of the end of the free press, again, an agenda that the Trump administration seems to be keen to push forward with.

Finally, read this article by Timothy Karr below; it’s lengthy, but well worth the read;

Six Things Trump’s FCC Chairman Doesn’t Want You to Know About Net Neutrality

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