The concept of net neutrality has been around since the early 2000’s when it presented itself as the idea of preventing cable and phone companies from being able to impact what we do and don’t see online. It seemed that the concept shouldn’t be an issue.
One of the perks of the Internet was being able to operate without being restricted to what the communications companies wanted. The Internet exploded with new services and concepts such as Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, file-sharing, blogs, message boards, and whatever else you can imagine to expand media and sharing capabilities. The established communications companies saw threats begin to emerge.
Besides these corporate giants, who else would oppose protecting the very foundation that made the world what it is today. 15 years later, it’s not a surprise that the issue came up, but why it took so long.
Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, repealed net neutrality rules and they went into effect on Monday. Activists continue to rally behind cries to keep net neutrality intact, but it might be a pointless effort. Even if net neutrality does get restored, the idea that the Internet isn’t full of competition is an outdated idea.
The idea emerged after looking at actions over the past ten years and how unkind the Internet has been to a competition. The Internet of the 2000’s was gone by the time the F.C.C. chief under President Barack Obama, Tom Wheeler, instituted rules to protect neutrality.
Today’s Internet is run by giant companies. Infrastructure is in the hands of American tech giants Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. Internet connections are dominated by broadband companies Comcast, Verizon, Charter, and AT&T in the United States.
These companies are the Internet now, and they have control over a lot of what appears. With the domination, it was inevitable that net neutrality was never going to last.
Some people feel that repealing net neutrality will create significant and immediate changes, but broadband companies know that everyone is on alert and observing their actions. You aren’t going to pay more to access specific sites, and your speeds aren’t going to get throttled when you wake up tomorrow.
Changes will be more gradual as new companies find that it’s more difficult to enter the highly competitive market. Big companies are consistently pushing small ones out of the market.
It’s clear that without rules, enforcement, and oversight the Internet turns into a harsh environment, as evidenced by the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica uproar that recently occurred. Taking away these barriers that contribute to unfair competition will speed up the process of the Internet’s downfall.
F.C.C. Commissioner and Democrat, Jessica Rosenworcel who voted against repealing net neutrality, said that history shows businesses who have the right and incentive, will eventually take advantage of the situation.
She also stated that by taking net neutrality away, the online companies would have the legal power to dominate consumer options and choices. Mrs. Rosenworcel also said it doesn’t make her feel good to know that these companies can legally block certain online content and websites. It shouldn’t make consumers feel any better either.
Liz Crawford is a technology and gaming enthusiast. She started Dungeon Dwellers to help express her geeky side. Aside from helping seniors and baby boomers during her 9-5 at a Medicare learning resource center, she enjoys blogging about upcoming tech news.