The Trump Administration’s FCC Has Officially Killed Net Neutrality
The Trump Administration’s Federal Communications Commission has officially ruled to gut the Obama era’s net neutrality regulations. This has been in the mix since Ajit Pai, who was first appointed to the FCC by President Obama (who was required by law to appoint two Republicans to the commission) and has been strongly advocating for the dismissal of net neutrality since 2015, was selected by President Trump to be it’s Chairman.
Net neutrality guaranteed that Internet service providers, or ISPs, have to provide the same equal access to the Internet to all consumers. Without it, companies will now be able to legally slow down or hide many services, such as those from competitors, or place services behind paywalls, leaving people with no choice but to pay if they want access. At its worst, small businesses will see mob-style regulation from big telecommunications companies that try to stifle any website that is not able to pay their “protection fee,” resulting in their site either being slowed down tremendously or having it outright buried.
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Pai’s has framed his campaign to gut internet freedom in corrupt rhetoric, as an attack on Obama and Big Government. But in reality, it’s turns the big telecoms into pirates, and gives them free reign to plunder the internet.
Pai and the Trump Administration are playing with fire here, however, as net neutrality was one of the few major issues that saw strong bipartisan support among Republican and Democratic constituents. With 3 out of every 4 Republicans (75 percent) saying they were against the repealing of net neutrality (according to a survey from the University of Maryland) it’s possible this will blow up in their faces. Of course, with the ability to censor free speech and the media this will provide, they can craft the narrative and silence the truth. Unless Congress or the Supreme Court step in.
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Still, with Republicans already having a hard enough time garnering support for their candidates — as proven by election losses in Virginia and Alabama — this could hurt the GOP as a whole, especially since 2018 is a reelection year for a lot of sitting congressmen.
Glenn O’Donnell, an industry analyst at a research firm, put it best:
“You and I and everyone else who uses the Internet for personal use will see some changes in pricing models. For most of us, I expect we will pay more. Service bundles (e.g., social media package, streaming video package) will likely be bolted on to basic transport for things like web surfing and email.”