The Net is No Longer Neutral

(Pat Fillows)

Roughly 30 minutes ago, after an evacuation and a sweep of the room buy armed police and k-9 units,  the FCC voted 3-2 to end net neutrality.

The 5 person board voted to end protections designated during the Obama administration designed to ensure the open and fair usage of the internet.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai addressed the board and those observing in the gallery, saying of the repeal, “It is not going to destroy the internet. It is not going to end the internet as we know it. It is not going to kill democracy. It is not going to stifle free expression online.”

And for all intents and purposes Pai is correct, withdrawing net neutrality does not instantly create a totalitarian rule of law across the world wide web.

Nothing will stop anyone from expressing themselves on Facebook or Twitter or any other outlet as they see fit, aside from the individual terms of service of those sites.

What it does create is a completely deregulated, wide open frontier of opportunism on an industry that in less than 20 years has gone from being viewed as a commodity to a utility.

Schools and universities now rely upon, and in some cases require, active internet access.

The internet has created a booming third party commerce allowing craftsman, artisans, and entrepreneurs to create and build new buisnesses with little to no overhead.

In the time since the inception of net neutrality Facebook, Snapchat, and Netflix have become mainstream – billion dollar companies with name recognition, and buying power on par with any member of the Fortune 500. 

BitCoin and other block chain crypto currencies have become a $500 Billion entity.

Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon have shaken up Hollywood and revolutionized television, and amid all this creation and revolution there were attempts to stifle and snuff out those opportunities.

Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are unlikely to go away, but there is now nothing to restrict your ISP (internet service provider) from charging you a fee to access any of those services.

There is little to no oversight if ISP’s owned by competing studios restrict access to their competitors’ content completely.

There are hundreds of reasons why net neutrality was a poitive, and in many ways a necessity, as no other utility has so little regulation at this time.

In the end the FCC’s decision to end net neutrality may be difficult to comprehend and to rationalize as the only reason given thus far has been “government overreach” constricting and hurting business.

But in an age of so much creation and growth what businesses were hurting?