Everybody is confused about Net Neutrality.
You’re still going to be confused at the end of this article.
Some people say Net Neutrality is good. Some say it is bad.
But people will say anything.
In the end we won’t know who to believe, only what we want to believe.
What is Net Neutrality?
“Net Neutrality” is a complicated and murky subject, but in essence it refers to the regulations initiated under the Obama administration in 2015 that prevent internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T from giving preference for some sites and apps over others. Republican Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai introduced a plan Tuesday, Nov. 21, to undo the regulations.
Net Neutrality ensures all content is equal and should be allowed equal service by ISPs.
Criticisms of Net Neutrality
A big criticism of Net Neutrality is that it clogs up internet traffic like two semis pacing each other side-by-side on the freeway 5mph under the speed limit. Internet leviathans such as Netflix and Amazon take up a lot of the access for the rest of us. In a perfect world, 18-wheelers should have their own lane so the rest of us can move about unimpeded.
Like electricity, those that need/want more broadband to deliver services to their customers will pay for it. Deregulation will create more room on the internet and speed it up.
Criticisms of Deregulating Net Neutrality
Deregulation would give ISPs control over content – who gets the fast lane or who gets buried in the congestion. Companies such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast can decide who gets preferential treatment and who doesn’t. ISPs could slow down their competitors.
The fear among critics is that this “pay to play” approach eliminates fair competition. Big companies can pay for preferential treatment. Little ones can’t.
Critics of deregulation maintain that “Net Neutrality means an internet that enables and protects free speech. It means that ISPs should provide us with open networks — and shouldn’t block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks.”
In the same way phone companies cannot decide who you call or what you say, ISPs shouldn’t control the content you view or post online.
The Enigmatic Mr. Pai
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a former lawyer for Verizon, emphatically states “Net Neutrality is not what the internet needs. It is not what Americans want.”
Pai’s measure to repeal Net Neutrality is set for a vote by the FCC on Dec. 14 and is expected to pass, 3-2, along party lines in the Republican dominated commission. Various watchdog groups are expected to immediately file lawsuits in an effort to reverse the anticipated decision.
What Deregulation Could Mean For Dexter
Pai, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, said in an interview on Fox News Radio that Trump did not have any input on his proposal. Asked whether deregulation would result in higher prices and put speedy internet access out of the reach of blue-collar Americans, Pai said “it’s going to mean exactly the opposite.”
“These heavy-handed regulations have made it harder for the private sector to build out the networks especially in rural America,” Pai said.
Dexter Township has been fighting a frustrating fight to obtain broadband service for residents in rural areas. With more and more reliance on the internet for everyday things such as home security systems to schoolwork, reliable broadband is becoming more and more of a necessity. Dexter has found that ISPs currently just don’t see an economic value in it.
What The ISPs Are Saying
AT&T executive vice president Joan Marsh explained that is not just the deconstruction of Net Neutrality that will take place but there will also be new rules requiring ISPs to disclose their management practices for accountability. “Any ISP that is so foolish as to seek to engage in gatekeeping will be quickly and decisively called out,” she said in a statement.
Comcast’s senior executive vice president David Cohen said their commitment to customers will remain unchanged. “We do not and will not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content,” he stated.
This Is As Far As I Can Take You
This is all I know, and care to know. It’s incomplete, I admit, but I was hoping to keep you awake all the way to the end. You’re gonna have to take it from here.
As for me (not you), I waffled between writing an article and not. Finally, as more of an exorcism than journalistic duty, I had to get it out of my system just so I could move on. It’s one of those issues enveloped in cyclonic rhetoric, a riddle wrapped in an enema. I want it to end.
I’m inherently suspicious what government officials and big companies have to say about anything. In the end it always seems to be the old trick of Greed dressed up in The Public’s Welfare clothing that they use to subdue us into compliance with their schemes. They think saying it makes it so.
On the other side of the issue, social media sites like Reddit are losing their minds in what is amounting to hysteria. The sky is falling and the doomsday that will usher in a societal police state is upon us. I have yet to see such shrill, Chicken Little prognostications ever pan out in anything. The higher the energy, the less likely it will actually happen. Remember Dec. 31 1999? The world didn’t come to an end at midnight. Lights didn’t even blink.
My thought (again, not yours) is that I’m secretly hoping deregulation works. I want Dexter’s rural areas to have reliable broadband. I want the companies who use the internet big to pay big and free up resources, like speed, for us little guys. Also, I don’t recall problems with internet censorship by ISPs before Net Neutrality was instituted in 2015.
But alas, Net Neutrality is as tangled as the web of fiber optics upon which it roams.
Neither side represents a complete picture.
If we can grasp a couple of the basics, I think we’ve done well.
Hopefully this helps.