Would ending net neutrality actually be good for the Internet? | The Tylt
Would ending net neutrality actually be good for the Internet?
After FCC chairman Ajit Pai released a plan that would 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 support 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 an 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, Economides debunks 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 others are applauding Pai's proposal, arguing net neutrality was never necessary and only limits growth and stifles competition.
Net neutrality regulation also effectively outlaws competing business models, which are good for customers and the economy as a whole. Competing business models allow experimentation, and this leads to providers serving customers better by meeting their needs more precisely.
The Washington Examiner argues if consumers do in fact prefer net neutrality as a model, they will select for it themselves, which is better than forcing the government to select for them.
Maybe consumers will prefer neutrality. But guess what? If they do, many network providers will offer more neutral business models. Others will offer a tier-based model...Why is it better for the federal government rather than customers to decide how networks should handle data? It's perplexing that the option of government controlling data flow should be welcomed, especially at a time when so many people are freaking out of the admittedly silly fear that Trump is an anti-free-speech authoritarian.
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.