Issue of Net Neutrality Removing

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Repealing Net Neutrality has stripped customers of protections in their favor without offering comparable protections against unfair practices. Net Neutrality also known as Title II regulation provided rules that restricted internet service providers from throttling bandwidth based on content or charging different rates for different types of traffic. Title II was repealed in 2017 and replaced with the Restoring Internet Freedom Order. The repeal of Title II is currently being petitioned in the U.S. Court of Appeals (Weimer), with 43 senators in support to restore Net Neutrality (https://www.markey.senate.gov/news/press-releases/markey-net-neutrality-resolution-reaches-40-vote-milestone-in-the-senate). Net Neutrality provided much needed consumer protections and needs to be restored.

The FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which is now in place of Net Neutrality, hinges itself on three main points. The FCC states it will provide consumer protection in the form of policing and taking action against unfair practices. Restoring Internet Freedom Order will bring transparency by imposing requirements for internet service providers to publicly disclose information pertaining to their practices. They also state removing regulations will promote broadband investment (https://www.fcc.gov/restoring-internet-freedom). These three principles are what the FCC feels will accomplish the same results as Net Neutrality plus boost innovation and growth.

The FCC claims transparency of an internet service providers prioritization and pricing factors will allow customers to make an informed decision on a provider’s practices. Making a choice between internet service providers will create competition that will level the price point out (Haridy). According to FCC’s own reports 118 million American households lack more than one choice when it comes to the broadband standard of 25Mbps (Brodkin).

With more than a third of the country unable choose a new broadband provider and forced into using whoever provides to their area, they are at the mercy of that major provider when it comes to price. In 2017 precedence was set through the FCC that if 50 percent of potential customers in a county are located within a half mile of a competitive provider, then the market in that area can be said to be competitive (Brodkin).

With the label of “competitive” given to areas where still potentially half of the customers don’t have a choice, the statistics of availability become skewed. The current infrastructure and marketplace of the US leaves a large amount of people with only one option when it comes to internet service. The prospect of healthy competition to equalize prices seems bleak when in some cases there is a competition of only one company.

When talking about Net Neutrality and investment for major companies FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had this to say, “Under Title II, investment in high-speed networks has declined by billions of dollars.” (Kastrenakes). This statement has been disputed by pro-net neutrality groups. One specifically Free Press claims their analysis of the investment data shows increase after the creation of Net Neutrality (Brodkin). Internet service providers themselves also continued to report to their investors positive investment into infrastructure (Brodkin).

The CFO of Verizon is quoted as stating at an industry conference on the topic of Net Neutrality “To be real clear, I mean, this does not influence the way we invest. I mean, we’re going to continue to invest in our networks and our platforms. Nothing will influence that.” (https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=383408537). Major telecommunications companies aren’t hiding the fact that Net Neutrality hasn’t hurt their ability to invest as Ajit Pai has stated it has.

As far as small internet service providers go, a letter was sent to the FCC that read “We have encountered no new additional barriers to investment or deployment as a result of the 2015 decision to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service” (Brodkin). This was sent by a group of small internet service providers in response to Ajit Pai’s claim that “Heavy-handed regulations are especially tough on new entrants and small businesses that don’t have the armies of lawyers and compliance officers that large, well-established companies do” (Kastrenakes).

In fact, a lot of small internet service providers showed concern about an FCC plan to auction off wireless spectrum in the 3.5GHz band. Ajit Pai’s explains this auction as a way to encourage private companies to invest more. The smaller companies voice concern about their ability to compete with larger companies to obtain the needed wireless space via auction. (Brodkin).

Without regulation to protect small internet service providers when it comes to getting access to utility poles or to obtain wireless spectrum, they will be forced to compete with larger company’s via resources. EFF Legislative Counsel Ernesto Falcon says, “If a company the size of Google could be stifled without the law supporting them, what hope does a smaller ISP have in entering into a market where the incumbent broadband provider owns the poles that are necessary component to deploying the network?” (Brodkin).

Large telecommunication companies oppose Net Neutrality laws being reinstated. AT&T says “we have always supported an internet that is transparent and free from blocking, censorship and discriminatory throttling” (https://about.att.com/sites/open_internet). These are all things that Net Neutrality ensured and enforced. So why doesn’t AT&T support bringing back Net Neutrality? They go on to say that new legislation is needed and that it does not make sense to rely on outdated laws. While a new set of laws tailored specifically for the new age of telecommunications that covers the same rights as Net Neutrality would be ideal. There is no need to remove the protections that AT&T stated they were in favor of until we have a viable replacement.

The FCC removed Net Neutrality and with it a set of guidelines that guaranteed fairness in many shapes when it comes to internet access in America. The potential for greedy and unethical practices exists and can manifest at in time as long as protections do not exist in some form or another. The FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order isn’t an acceptable replacement and its ideals don’t offer any real substance. The American consumer base needs Net Neutrality back.

Works Cited

  1. https://www.natlawreview.com/article/dc-circuit-hears-challenge-to-federal-communications-commission-s-2018-restoring
  2. https://www.markey.senate.gov/news/press-releases/markey-net-neutrality-resolution-reaches-40-vote-milestone-in-the-senate
  3. https://www.fcc.gov/restoring-internet-freedom
  4. https://newatlas.com/fcc-net-neutrality-draft-order-internet-freedom/52308/
  5. https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/06/50-million-us-homes-have-only-one-25mbps-internet-provider-or-none-at-all/
  6. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/10/fccs-claim-that-one-isp-counts-as-competition-faces-scrutiny-in-court/
  7. https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/14/16777626/ajit-pai-net-neutrality-speech
  8. https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/05/title-ii-hasnt-hurt-network-investment-according-to-the-isps-themselves/
  9. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/06/30-small-isps-urge-ajit-pai-to-preserve-title-ii-and-net-neutrality-rules/
  10. https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/13/15949920/net-neutrality-killing-small-isps
  11. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/07/ajit-pai-gets-message-from-his-hometown-isp-dont-hurt-us-small-isps/

Cite this paper

Issue of Net Neutrality Removing. (2021, Jun 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/issue-of-net-neutrality-removing/

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