The Truth Behind The Net Neutrality Vote

By Steven E. White

Net Neutrality was repealed by a three to five vote, this Thursday, the fourteenth of December. The majority of Americans have fought long and hard to stop this repeal, and plan to continue to protest, believing the repeal will affect their ability to access websites of the internet.

The Obama era net neutrality officially ended with the FCC’s Ajit Pai, Michael O’Rielly, and Brendan Carr voting to repeal net neutrality, while Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel voted to keep the laws in place.

Net Neutrality is the principle, legislated under the Obama Administration, that all internet traffic should be treated equally. This made it illegal for ISPs(Internet Service Providers) to throttle their customers’ internet, when visiting certain sites. Despite its illegality, some companies were still accused of such practices, and able to find loopholes to do so. For instance, in 2009 a complaint was filed against Comcast, accusing the company of deliberately preventing its subscribers from using, and accessing, BitTorrent. Comcast pleaded to no wrong doing, and the court eventually ruled in their favor.

Many people believe the repeal will allow big companies to control, and track, what their customers view, and thus, destroy free use of their favorite websites. Technically, this allowance is true. It’s possible for companies to control what their subscribers view, and to charge them for use of website they may not agree with, or websites that are competitors; but will this be the case? Is equal use of all websites dead? A great many believe not.

These individuals say that this repeal is necessary for growth and progression of the service of ISPs, especially smaller ISPs who had no incentive to invest in the market. Because of this repeal, ISPs are required by law, now, to be transparent with your speed and charges. Blocking, and creating bundled services were already legal under Net Neutrality, and throttling was something ISPs could get away with. Big companies like Etsy, Amazon, Mozilla, and Kickstarter launched an online campaign on Wednesday, July 12, knowing a change in rules could affect them, and perhaps their viewership. They desired to protest the FCC chairman, Ajit Pai’s proposal to revoke the utility-style internet regulation that took effect during Obama’s administration; allowed under the Title ll Communication Act of 1934.

Pai said that during the first two years of the Title ll effectivity, Capital expenditures of domestic broadband declined by 5.6 percent, from 2014 to 2016.

Pai was supported by Republican Senator, Ron Johnson, who said in an interview with WTMJ Radio, “What you really want is an expansion of high-speed broadband, and in order to do that you have to create the incentives for those smaller ISPs to invest. They don’t really control their own fiber if the government tells them exactly how they’re going to use their investment.”

Basically, this repeal is believed to bring on the rise of a greater selection of ISPs in the future, and in this happening, you’ll be able to access the internet how you always have, with the most competitive package allowing you to do so.