On November 21, the Federal Communications Commission released a draft order that aims, according to the document’s title, to “Restore Internet Freedom and Eliminate Heavy-Handed Internet Regulations.”
Critics argue that this benign-sounding title hides a more nefarious purpose, which if carried out would end net neutrality and fundamentally limit the free transmission of data on the internet.
Net neutrality is a principle formally instituted by the FCC back in 2010. Four years later, Verizon challenged the commission’s authority to regulate the issue, and initially won. Public outrage was intense and immediate, and the FCC was deluged with messages demanding that it protect net neutrality. In 2015, the commission responded by classifying broadband providers as common carriers, which placed them back under its regulatory control.
Following his election, President Donald Trump appointed Ajit Pai – a former employee of Verizon – as the FCC’s new chairman. Pai immediately went to work on reversing the 2015 order, and in May this year the commission’s panel officially voiced its support for the move. When the FCC next meets on December 14, it is expected to repeal the order that underpins net neutrality.
The basic principle of net neutrality is simple: all traffic that passes through an internet service provider’s network is treated equally, no matter its content or source. A media giant or a visionary creating content in his study next door: all receive equal access. The little guy and gal have long been the source of innovation in the internet sphere: who would want to stifle them? The answer is, the usual suspects– the major corporations with the financial clout to buy political influence. Now, it seems the only hope to protect net neutrality is in the hands of the public, which must make itself heard loud and clear, once again.
For more information, please read:
FCC Is Revving Up to Destroy the Internet As We Know It | Popular Mechanics