Nuking Net Neutrality

Ajit Pai thinks we're being hysterical because we don't trust our internet service providers to act in our best interest. That's hysterical. 

November 21, 2017

save the internet protest

It’s happening. The FCC is going to free a handful of corporations from the tyranny of regulation. At least, that’s the FCC chair’s plan. Who’s happy about this? Comcast, Verison, and AT&T. Who’s unhappy? Everyone who wants to avoid having their internet service provider decide what they get to see, which is to say pretty much everyone who hasn’t hired lobbyists to oppose net neutrality. A mega-majority.

This is part of a bigger roll-back of regulations, and you could argue this one is not as serious as, say, environmental protection. But this may backfire for the Republicans, who seem to be specializing in backfires. This issue isn’t easy to paint in partisan colors. People who hate government regulation also hate corporate control over what they can do online.

This move is a gift to a few unloved corporations and an insult to everyone else. Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman, calls the concerns of the millions of people who submitted comments opposing the proposal “hysterical.” Just trust these companies to do the right thing, he says.

Well, we know these companies. They haven’t earned our trust. This may be one issue that unites our polarized political landscape. But it may not matter. This administration and the Republican congressional leadership don't much care what people want. Look how popular the tax plan is (just slightly higher than Trumpcare). It looks likely to head to the courts before the dust is settled.

Motherboard suggests we ditch these corporate losers and build our own. Of course, big telecom has tried to make that impossible, too, lobbying for laws to prohibit communities from providing low-cost internet service to its residents, but at some point people may decide local collective action is better than the meager and overpriced choices big business is offering. 

Stay tuned. 

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