Net Neutrality | New NY 23rd

Today, the FCC voted along party lines to end Net Neutrality, scrapping regulations meant to keep the Internet fair and open to all. This decision re-categorizes the Internet as an information service instead of a utility. The FCC’s decision was not a surprise, despite widespread opposition from consumers.--Tracy Mitrano

I don’t understand the internet. I know I pay Time Warner Cable for internet service. I suppose their revenue pays for maintaining local cable connections, for computer equipment, and for access to the internet backbone of tier 1 carriers like ATT and Verizon. Whether internet communications are profitable for tier 1 carriers or not, I have no idea.

The basic idea of net neutrality is equal service for all internet users. I don’t know if the net neutrality regulation affected business practices, or whether the repeal of these regulations will spark change. Some fear that providers will sell premium service to some to the detriment of others.

In The Atlantic, Ian Bogost writes:

In truth, nobody yet knows how the net-neutrality rollback will affect anyone—consumers, telcos, big tech, or start-ups. Internet zealots warn of widespread blocking and throttling, not to mention pay-for-play fast lanes that might benefit big companies like Netflix and Google and prevent upstarts from enjoying innovation and growth. ISPs, aware of how hot the issue is, will likely take no immediate action.

There is much more to digest in this article.

Leonid Bershidsky, writing in Bloomberg, notes:

 If current market participants get too greedy and start doing things that displease customers, they will create an opportunity for new entrants who won’t do that. I doubt the repeal of the 2015 rules will boost the number of internet providers in middle America — but it’s possible that the threat of disruption will stop existing ISPs from worsening their current offerings.

My conclusion is that the question of net neutrality is complicated, that public vigilance is vital in protecting the public interest, and that the matter is too important to be determined by industry lobbyists.

The article on Estonia explains what might be a better way forward.

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