Net Neutrality | FCC | Internet | Buffalo, NY | Certified B Corp
While the Trump administration has prided itself on bombastic battles and a never back down attitude, there is one important fight the administration is taking on behind the scenes. Net neutrality, the argument that the internet is an infrastructure like a highway or a park, free for public use is under attack. What the government is currently hoping to accomplish is privatizing a public infrastructure used daily by almost everyone in the country. Why is this a problem? Imagine an internet where the highest bidder, in this case most likely Alphabet and Amazon, have access to higher speed internet than a small start-up. Would that not be similar to a competitor owning the highways that lead to a city where rival businesses are?
In plain words, under the Obama administration the FCC classified the internet as a Title II. What this would do is protect the internet under the Communications Act of 1934, which created the FCC for the purpose of protecting the availability and accessibility of information/communication. The Trump administration and FCC Chairman Ajit V. Pai want to roll back these regulations, opening the infrastructure of the internet to privatization. The highest bidders will have access to the highest speeds while those who cannot afford to compete with companies like Google, will have to settle for a much slower connection. One doesn’t have to look at much data to see what would happen if these protective regulations were rolled back; consumers would be attracted to the faster sites and those who previously relied on traffic to their sites and ad revenues would see a drop off.
Those who support the roll backs believe these regulations stifle competition , but the question to ask is competition for who? Currently starting a website does not guarantee any success on the internet. Currently the playing field is level and consumers are drawn to sites based on quality of content (and personal taste) over loading speed and available data.
While the administration has been loud about dividing issues, they have been rather cloak and dagger with their attempts to roll back regulations on net neutrality, most likely because it would be met with public-bipartisan opposition. Privatizing the internet would not bode well for mid-list publications, and Americans would be funneled to sites/providers with the most money because they would be able to buy the fastest speeds.
The internet has been used by many personalities and freelance journalists to build and develop personal brands, and part of the magic of the internet is that it has cultivated the “you could be next” mentality, which has encouraged many people to find their voice (and purpose). Most importantly it currently serves the consumers, who are able to search the internet for content they prefer rather than content that loads fastest.
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