Do you like your Internet service provider? Do you appreciate that you are not treated differently or charged differently according to what you watch or do on the internet? Maybe you never thought of it before because under Obama-era net neutrality rules, passed on February 26, 2015, broadband was classified as a common carrier under Title II of the Communications Act of 1996.
Classified as a utility, internet service providers, like Phoenix Internet, and governments regulating the internet were required by law to treat all internet data the same. In other words, internet service providers could not charge you differently according to—for example—who you are, the content you read on the internet, specific websites you access, or types of equipment you use while on the internet. To most of us, it simply seemed like a right to be able to access the internet and its content without government or internet service provider interference. But to many companies that offer internet services or that use the internet as a major forum for its services found net neutrality as a hindrance to growth and a limit of their ability to create.
Net Neutrality: What It Is
Net neutrality has been, since its adoption, the overarching principle of the internet in the U.S.: all internet data is and should be equal. Likewise, all consumers of the internet should have equal access to that data. Net neutrality, according to its founders, protects free speech and innovation. There is no censorship of the blogs, services, businesses, etc., except where the content is illegal. Because of net neutrality, big companies cannot pay for special treatment (e.g., faster speeds, more bandwidth), which if permitted would put start-ups at an extreme disadvantage.
On the other hand, because of the last principle, big companies are not required to pay their fair share. If internet service providers could make these big companies, like Amazon or Google, pay their fair share corresponding to the amount of bandwidth they use, then internet service providers would have the capacity to create and build newer, more advanced fiber networks to accommodate more internet innovation and services. There are many pros and cons of net neutrality, and the most common of those pros and cons are delineated below.
Five Most Common Pros of Net Neutrality
- Data is treated equally.
- Access to data is equally provided.
- Free speech and expression is protected.
- Innovation is protected and stimulated.
- Costs are relatively low for consumers.
Five Most Common Cons of Net Neutrality
- Comparatively low compensation for the vast amount of data consumed.
- Limited income to internet service provider limits infrastructure improvements.
- Innovation is stifled.
- Lack of proper monitoring of illegal content, pirated movies, etc.
- Consumers who consume less internet data pay the same price.
Net Neutrality: Its Repeal
On November 21, 2017, Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC, said he intended to roll back Obama-era net neutrality rules. And that’s exactly what the FCC did on December 14, 2017. In a 3-2 vote, net neutrality was repealed.
The purpose for the repeal according to Ajit Pai and reported by The New York Times is: net neutrality hindered innovation and growth. Repealing net neutrality is intended to give companies a new lease on innovation by giving them the space to maneuver and create. It is also expected to increase investment on the internet.
The repeal would effectively allow the internet service providers to do the following:
- Block its users from accessing certain websites or apps.
- Slow the internet by slowing the transmission of data.
- Create paid prioritization programs so that customers who pay premiums receive better quality while others receive less quality.
If the above three permissions materialize, the repeal would effectively revoke the benefits consumers receive from net neutrality today. To surmise what exactly that would look like and to what extent, however, would be pure speculation at this time.
What You Should Remember about Net Neutrality
- Net neutrality was put in place so that everyone could access internet data equally, enjoy free speech, and pay relatively low prices for usage.
- The FCC has voted to repeal net neutrality based on an assumption it will help corporations be more innovative, thus, attracting investment and fostering improved internet infrastructure.
- The repeal of net neutrality may result in more lag time and limited access to data on the internet unless consumers and corporations pay more.
Internet Service Providers Who Value Customers
Net neutrality is a complicated concept, and its repeal is not yet set in stone. Lawsuits are already being prepared. Regardless of what happens now or in the future, Phoenix Internet wants our customers to enjoy excellent quality, high-speed internet access with no lag time. Phoenix Internet wants you to also know that we are here for you, whether you are a consumer, a business or part of a community because it is you that allows us to thrive. Contact us today to find out more about our offerings.