Net Neutrality, Early 2018

On 12/14/2017, the FCC changed the rules, effectively eliminating Net Neutrality, so consumers legally lost equal access to all content for a given price based on bandwidth speed and amount of data consumed. With Net Neutrality, we could use the data as we wished, accessing the services desired on the same equal field. Paying for more data or bandwidth allows Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to receive more funds to pay for increased infrastructure improvements while still keeping an equal playing field for all content providers (and ISPs for that matter).

In each market, the internet services providers are essentially a monopoly.  While I could use my mobile carrier’s data, realistically for my data needs, I really only have DSL (one provider) and Cable (one provider).  This constraint is similar for most and for many one or both providers are not especially favorable in the big picture.  Like telecommunication providers before them, they provide the connectivity (or phone back in the day) to the rest of the world and should be treated as a basic essential service.  In reality, Internet access is required to live life such as getting a job, pay bills, monitor credit, research information, do schooling, collaborating, book flights, and so forth.  In essence, Net Neutrality helps people in a manner that is already stacked against them with the ISP monopolies.

One major problem for me is that ISPs also provide content.  They have every incentive to provide poor service to other content providers and give premium access to their content.  They can now charge extra to access outside content so their services look more attractive.  This is a very big conflict of interest.

Fortunately, while untested legally at this point, states are coming to rescue where the FCC (and specifically Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission) has failed us individuals.  They are helping to represent their constituents.  There is overwhelming support by individuals to have Net Neutrality.  People should come before business on basic (essential) services.  Time will tell how this shakes up.  But it is a good idea to keep an eye on what is happening and keep the conversation going.