The Death of Neutrality

By Randall McGee

Anyone that listens to news or reads articles knows that Net Neutrality is now dead. The Obama-era internet rule of a neutral internet in which ISPs couldn’t slow down specific services has been repealed by the FCC.

As much as Ajit Pai, the chairman of the FCC, would like you to think this is a good thing, this is in fact a very bad thing. Ajit Pai claimed that net neutrality was holding back ISP’s, and would help them to expand to new territories. Not only is this wrong, but Ajit Pai’s supposed priority of better internet speed in more places was proven wrong again when he allowed wireless connection to count as broadband, when the minimum speed of wireless internet connection is 10mb/s download 1mb/s upload. This means that if someone has no access to wired connection of at least 25mb/s, but has access to a wireless connection of less than half that, they are considered to have adequate internet connection. In other words, less people are counted as not having access to high speed internet, but nothing has actually been done to bring higher speeds to people.

From what Ajit Pai has done so far, he has only gotten the ISPs more money and less responsibility to reach more people with higher speeds. This makes his position as head of the FCC somewhat questionable, as he hasn’t adhered to the public, only the betterment of large corporations.

Back to the topic of net neutrality, Ajit Pai describes it as a road with a toll booth, where trucks are charged more than cars because of their size. What he means is that ISPs should be able to charge people for streaming videos and downloading things, as they slow down the lanes of the internet. However, the internet isn’t as simple as a highway full of cars that just needs a toll booth to charge bigger cars more. The internet has millions of lanes, with thousands of websites and services.

The idea of charging more money for customers to use more internet is simple, but that isn’t the way ISPs use their power when net neutrality is gone. In the days before net neutrality, ISPs caused havoc across the internet, and sneaky or shady things would happen left and right. In 2007 Comcast illegally blocked its users from sharing files between themselves. In 2009, AT&T blocked Skype and Facetime apps on its network, ensuring its customers couldn’t use it. In 2011, MetroPCS blocked its users from all streaming services except youtube. In 2012, Verizon blocked its users from using any app that let them connect their data to computers. These weren’t the only cases in which ISPs abused their power to try to get more money, and the laughable idea that this abuse of power won’t happen again is why Ajit Pai is hated by thousands of people.

It didn’t even take a year for ISPs to begin with the shady scandals again, as Verizon throttled a firefighting team in California while they were fighting fires. The ISPs won’t stop this disregard for the public, and the removal of net neutrality can be viewed as a slap in the face of democracy.

The entire situation of net neutrality was created from the forum for the FCC having a majority of people wanting an end to net neutrality. This was entirely fabricated, however, as it was found that millions of bots(fake profiles created by a person or organization) made up the majority of the comments in the forum, and most of all the comments supporting net neutrality. This would mean that net neutrality did have the support of the majority of the people, and that some organization, possibly tied to the FCC, created all of these bots to create the illusion that the repeal of net neutrality was a popular opinion. The organization that created these bots has not been found, and furthermore, the more investigating that the FBI does into the FCC, the more Ajit Pai seems to hide from them.

So is Ajit Pai and the FCC acting in the best interests of the public? From where I stand(or sit while typing), Ajit Pai isn’t trying to improve internet speeds, and he isn’t trying to help the public by giving the keys to the internet to private corporations, and he doesn’t have the support of the nation behind his decisions. Action has been taken against the repeal, but congress has also not been properly representing the nation either. The congressmen who are opposed to net neutrality have taken tens of thousands of dollars from large ISPs, and therefore vote against it.