Net neutrality is the principle that internet providers should not be able to block or restrict websites. Nor can they charge customers extra fees for some content.
Under their new proposal, the FCC will allow the internet providers to charge you extra for some websites. Further, they can slow down or block some sites.
After Donald Trump’s election, we should not be surprised by this step of the FCC. As we know, elections have consequences.
As soon as Trump became president, he took steps to remake the FCC. A Republican became FCC chair, and Trump appointed an additional Republican commissioner.
Swamp Captures FCC
Thanks to the 3-2 Republican majority among the FCC commissioners, the repeal of net neutrality regulations will happen at their December 14th meeting.
Led by the Chair, Ajit Pai, the Republican commissioners are a textbook example of the DC swamp. Pai is a former Verizon lawyer.
Trump appointee to the commission, Brendan Carr, is the former legal adviser to Pai. Carr was a lawyer with a firm that worked with companies like Verizon and AT & T.
Another Republican commissioner, Michael O’Rielly, has worked for several Senate Republicans. Since 1994, he has been continuously working at the US Congress.
For Republicans and internet providers, a major idol of worship is the almighty dollar.
Swamp to Boost Profits
To simplify things a bit, most of us get internet content from two sources. Cable operators provide us the material at home. On the move, we get the Internet from our wireless providers.
With wireless, we have a lot of competition. Based on price, products, and service, we can choose among a variety of companies.
With the cable providers, we have a lot less choice. They force us to choose their crappy TV bundles with the internet. With mergers, customers are often stuck with one company in their area.
As cord-cutting increases, cable firms are looking at ways to make more money. After net neutrality is repealed, they can charge more prosperous companies for quicker delivery.
Unsurprisingly, wealthy content sources will be targets for the cable providers. Those companies that charge for their content, like Netflix, will transfer costs to their customers.
Some companies, like Google and Facebook, currently provide their content without charge. After the end of net neutrality, the public might face costs for this kind of material.
Swamp blocking free speech
For the swamp, controversy interferes with making money. Before net neutrality, this fear led Internet service providers to stop political content.
For example, the ACLU described two cases. In one case, the wireless provider AT & T blocked Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder’s words against George W. Bush at a performance. In another example, Verizon Wireless censored text messages from the pro-choice NARAL group.
If you care about free speech, giving this kind of power to Internet service providers should worry you. Here’s how you can make your voice heard.