The Federal Communications Commision voted to repeal Obama-era net neutrality regulations in
December of 2017, but the repeal isn’t scheduled to officially take effect until April 23.
There has been talk flooding the internet about the Armageddon that could take place once the regulations are formally eliminated, but it’s hard to tell whether the actual implementation will be as bad as people say it will be.
One must also acknowledge that internet sources would be biased in favor of net neutrality. A net neutrality repeal may stunt innovation and require consumers to pay more for access on certain sites. Net neutrality legislation would prohibit internet service providers, or ISPs, from charging certain companies for using the internet.
However, the repeal of this legislation makes it legal for ISPs to incentivize companies to pay for internet. The fear is that this would reduce the level of free access available to consumers and innovators. Essentially, the only way for consumers to get fast internet for certain sites would be to pay for certain packages.
For example, one internet package might provide social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram while another might provide music services like Spotify and SoundCloud.
This might sound reasonable on the surface; if people want access to certain sites on a faster network because they use that site a lot, then they might be willing to spend some money on that. However, what if that site isn’t in your package?
College students and teachers use a multitude of sites to obtain information for courses. A teacher might go on Facebookf or fun while looking up a YouTube video for his class. In order to get equal access to both, depending on what sites are in his package, the teacher might have to pay for two separate packages.
Additionally, this could stunt innovation because sites that are able to pay for internet could do so where as sites which are just starting up wouldn’t have the money to pay for fast internet access. This would leave them in the slower internet pathway, which could mean their sites wouldn’t be visited as much, knocking them out of the competition.
Although the FCC has already voted to repeal net neutrality, according to ArsTechnica, public interest groups that want to reverse the repeal can start producing legislation for net neutrality.
Even if the repeal takes full effect, there are still actions consumers can take to reduce corruption as much as possible.
According to a Slate article, in 2016 several Moroccan internet providers agreed to block voice over internet sites like Skype and Whatsapp to reduce phone plan competition. Morocco has no net neutrality rules.
However, according to a Fortune article, by 2017, the block was lifted after Morrocan citizens protested.
Therefore, in the United States, if companies misuse the internet in such an egregious way, citizens can protest and fight against it.It takes awareness and understanding on the part of the American people to recognize these corruptions and take action.