Net of not having Net Neutrality would
Net NeutralityEvery since the birth of the internet, the idea of have having a open and free web without interference from web service providers has long been the norm. But The newly appointed chairman of the FCC thinks otherwise. Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications commission, designated by President Donald J. Trump has views of an internet where high speed internet service is controlled by these services providers diminishing many of the net neutrality laws we have in place to protect our free internet. In a New York Times article written earlier this year by Cecilia Kang titled , “F.C.C. Chairman Pushes Sweeping Changes to net neutrality rules” she talks about the chairman’s plan to cut back the rules of net neutrality in order for telecom service providers to control and restrict what you see and do on the internet. The topic of net neutrality could be a topic which may never be fully enacted by our governing law, and it could very well be endorsed any day in our upcoming months. Nevertheless, the FCC’s rulemaking process on net neutrality has only just begun and the lawmakers are still working out any and every kinks that may exist or could potentially occur to make sure that the policy is complete. The consequences of not having Net Neutrality would be quite overwhelming, because the Internet, unlike television and radio, is a free and open platform which brings the world a unique possibility of freedom of expression and innovation. On the Internet, consumers have complete control over deciding between what content, applications and services they want to use, no matter which companies owns the network. But without Net Neutrality, the network owners will decide which content, applications, and services are accessible; consumers will have to pick and choose between which companies offer what services we ultimately want, or we’ll have to pay extra to have access to specific content, applications, etc. Without Net Neutrality, open market competition would be significantly limited between major telecommunication network owning companies, and all access to any information would be entirely restricted. The fundamental idea of consumer choice and the free market would be forever reduced to whatever the corporations choose for you when the time comes for you to choose an internet service provider. However, after all these years of struggle between consumers and large telecommunication companies, net neutrality is unquestionably on its way to becoming official.The court’s decision to overturn net neutrality on January 14, 2014 was a shock to many. Michael Copps, former FCC Commissioner said that the decision was, “poised to end the free, open and uncensored Internet that we have come to rely on,” (Maisto). In 2002, the FCC decided that the Internet and cable needed be regulated differently in order to protect the Internet’s access to information. That means that while cable companies often bundle channels and sell packages Adam Raage 10/30/17Graydonsuch as HBO separate from the fixed monthly rate, Internet Service Providers could not. This changes however due to the recent court ruling, and to the benefit of ISP’s and large corporations. “ISPs could let companies purchase the right to host their content on faster streams, which would give well-known sites like Google, Yahoo, and Facebook an even greater advantage when it comes to attracting visitors and racking up revenue from advertisers” (Bollman). By doing away with net neutrality laws, ISP’s would be able to request large sums of money to content providers, in order to have their material load and be seen at a quicker pace. If companies refused or could not pay content could be blocked or load more slowly than other competing sites. Websites, such as Google, Yahoo, and Facebook that have already developed a corner on the market would have almost no problem paying these fees, and would remain a top option amongst a shrinking market. Where the problem would lie is with entrepreneurial websites, who already struggling for marketing and audience would be unable to compete with the largest corporations. If net neutrality is done away with for good, the question to consider is, “Will there be the next Google type company?” Possibly, but far less frequently. Google is a great example of the type of entrepreneurial company that may be stifled in the future by doing away with net neutrality laws. Net neutrality played an essential role in Google’s rise and “without it, it’s unlikely their start-up company would have risen from Internet obscurity to become the multi-billion dollar company it is today” (Bollman). If ISP’s cash in on their opportunity to raise prices for content provided, aspiring individuals may have their dreams held in check. The US Supreme Court observed, “The heart of our national economic policy long has been faith in the value of competition” (Stucke). Entrepreneurs need an open Internet where innovation and competition is allowed to take place. If net neutrality is done away with, ISP’s can form monopolies and duopolies on the market, while eliminating competition from entrepreneurial content providers, and hurting the consumers.The recent ruling of the court did satisfy the dissenting view of those who oppose net neutrality. Those who disagree with FCC regulation of the Internet commonly argue that history shows it to be unnecessary. Larry Downs the Senior Adjunct Fellow for TechFreedom argues that although he supports and open Internet, “in the end the FCC majority could only identify four incidents of the last 10 years of what they believed to be non-neutral behavior” (Clemmitt). Downs’ argument proposes that four incidents are not enough to warrant regulation by the FCC. However, if one believes in an open Internet, these four incidents should be more than enough to prove that some regulation is necessary. The claim shows that past actions taken by ISP’s have purposefully threatened an open Internet. What is more of a problem however is that these actions took place while the Open Internet Act was in place. Undoubtedly without regulation, the frequency of non-neutral behavior will increase. Additionally, some of these incidents came from high profile ISP’s with a large share of the market as seen in the case of AT&T. Gigi B. Sohn, President and co-founder of Public Knowledge said, “AT blocked certain applications such as Slingbox video streaming, Skype and Google voice, from its mobile network while permitting its own Streaming and voice products to use the same network” (Clemmitt). Net neutrality is needed to ensure that providers have access to openness and the ability to compete and create. Net neutrality stops company tactics, like those displayed in the AT&T case study, from blocking competition in order to force the success of a product onto consumers. Also neutrality prevents a monopoly from being developed on fields such as video and audio streaming. Despite the infrequency of violations, laws protecting basic net neutrality are necessary in keeping the Internet a free competition marketplace. Net neutrality support is the closest thing to free speech support in the current generation. With restricted Internet, information that was once accessible to nearly anyone is under attack. Al Franken the senator from Minnesota offers his opinion that, “This isn’t a liberal or conservative issue. Everyone has a stake in protecting the First Amendment” (Franken). Freedom of speech has been an important American value for hundreds of years, and is one of the foundations of the country. In the cyber world it means the Internet is an open market and medium to promote an opinion. Craig Aaron, President and CEO of Free Press said, “The only way the FCC can preserve Network Neutrality is to return broadband to its prior classification as a common carrier service,” (Carr). Consumers have already responded with support to the issue. Over one million consumers signed a petition asking the FCC to “reassert the agency’s clear authority over our nation’s communications infrastructure” by reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service subject to common carriage rules.” By reclassifying broadband telecommunications, will be promoting innovation and allowing freedom of speech to exist online. Consumers agree in support that keeping regulation rules on the Internet is important in order to keep the Internet free and honest, rather than at the mercy of ISP’s who pick the winners and losers online.The Internet has become a fundamental, and even essential, part of many Americans lives. A user depends on the Internet for a multitude of daily tasks, such as work, leisure, advertisements, educational purposes, and countless others. As such, the recent decision to do away with net neutrality laws means that the open Internet that society has come to love and enjoy could very soon be history. As ISP’s gain the right to discriminate services, bloggers and musicians lose the ability to compete against larger entities, limiting freedom of speech. As ISP’s gain the right to implement competitive costs amongst content providers, entrepreneurs are shut out, and customers are passed along fees. Whether people are ready to acknowledge the issue or not, the final outcome surrounding net neutrality could largely shape the United States future. Citizens and policymakers alike must realize that the free and open Internet is something worth fighting for.Work CitedKang, Cecilia. “F.C.C. Chairman Pushes Sweeping Changes to Net Neutrality Rules.” The New York Times, 26 April ,2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/26/technology/net-neutrality.htmlBollman, Melissa. “Net neutrality, Google, and internet ethics.” The Humanist Nov.-Dec. 2010: 6+. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 3 Feb. 2014.Maisto, Michelle. “FCC, Net Neutrality Lose Out To Verizon In District Court Ruling.” Eweek (2014): 4. Academic Search Premier. Web. 3 Feb. 2014.”net, n.1″. OED Online. December 2013. Oxford University Press. 1 February 2014 .Clemmitt, M. (2012, April 13). Internet regulation. CQ Researcher, 22, 325-348. Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/”Net Neutrality: What You Need to Know in a Pay-to-play Internet World.” The Republican. N.p., 27 Jan. 2014. Web. 01 Feb. 2014.Stucke, Maurice E. “Journal of Antitrust Enforcement.” Is Competition Always Good?N.p., 28 Mar. 2013. Web. 03 Feb. 2014.Franken, Al. “Net Neutrality Is Foremost Free Speech Issue of Our Time.” CNN. Cable News Network, 05 Aug. 2010. Web. 03 Feb. 2014.?