Is the death of net neutrality actually good for the Internet? | The Tylt
Is the death of net neutrality actually good for the Internet?
When FCC Chairman Ajit Pai first released his plan to effectively gut the net neutrality rules put in place during the Obama administration, many responded with alarm. While some large corporations like AT&T and Verizon supported the repeal, many other tech giants such as Amazon, Twitter, and Netflix opposed Pai's proposal to gut what many view as a free and open Internet.
The invention and commercialization of the internet is one of the things that makes America great. And what makes the internet great is the easy, unrestricted, and free availability of all kinds of information, regardless of the content provider, a regime known as network neutrality.
While proponents of a net neutrality repeal argue it is bad for business, experts debunked these claims, arguing net neutrality is great for businesses large and small by providing everyone a level playing field.
Net neutrality is pro-business in the best and fullest sense of the term, guaranteeing that new companies can grow unimpeded and help accelerate the US economy. Net neutrality preserves undistorted consumers' freedom of choice. And at the same time, net neutrality facilitates a level playing field for political and social interaction on the internet, enhancing freedom.
But Pai has defended his decision, arguing in an op-ed for CNET the end to net neutrality will protect consumers and foster competition.
I support a free and open internet. The internet should be an open platform where you are free to go where you want, and say and do what you want, without having to ask anyone's permission. And under the Federal Communications Commission's Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which takes effect Monday, the internet will be just such an open platform. Our framework will protect consumers and promote better, faster internet access and more competition.
Pai argues the Obama net neutrality rules actually hurt smaller internet providers that "didn't have the means to withstand a regulatory onslaught."
The impact was especially harmful for smaller internet service providers who didn't have the means to withstand a regulatory onslaught. These providers often serve rural and lower-income areas where better internet access and competition are most desperately needed. But they were forced to spend scarce funds on regulatory compliance rather than building out broadband to more Americans.
But many still argue treating the Internet just like any other utility is a bad idea, pointing to what has happened to telephone services to show what over-regulating the Internet could do.
The FCC and its supporters need only to review the recent history of the communications industry itself to see the mismatch between the Internet and a public utility. As the computing revolution exploded elsewhere, basic telephone service limped along for decades, with high (regulated) prices and poor (regulated) service. Prior to deregulation after the breakup of the Bell system, getting a second phone line could take years; simple information services, including caller ID and call forwarding, took decades to win approval from regulators.
Unable to respond quickly if at all to the better and cheaper networking technology of the Internet, what’s left of the analog phone network is now wheezing into extinction, with as many as 85 percent of U.S. households having already cut the cord.