The FCC derives its authority from the Federal Communications Act, and the law does not say anything about the power to tell internet providers how they can or can’t distribute content. If there is really going to be a net-neutrality mandate, it would have to come from Congress.
Net neutrality is the principle that internet providers should make all content available at the same speed. That doesn’t mean loading Netflix on a 25-megabits-per-second connection just as quickly as on a 100-megabits-per-second connection; it means treating Netflix and Hulu the same on whichever kind of connection a consumer has.
True net neutrality can’t be achieved. Multiple factors affect content delivery speeds, and regulations can’t ensure across-the-board equality. A start-up streaming service could theoretically match Netflix and Hulu; in practice, however, a start-up can’t fix bugs and update software rapidly enough to keep pace.
The regulation is a solution in search of a problem. The internet worked just fine before the Democratic-controlled FCC passed the net-neutrality regulation in 2015, and it will work just fine after the rule is repealed. That’s because internet providers understand that it is in their own interests to maintain a level playing field.
Could Comcast, a part-owner of Hulu, artificially slow down Netflix? Sure. But it wouldn’t do that because it wouldn’t risk losing Netflix users to Verizon. The real threat here is competition between big companies and small ones. Small companies face so much obstacles already that the last thing they need is for larger competitors to be able to buy faster delivery speeds that they the start-ups, cannot afford.
So, are there laws to protect them? Will there be laws in future? One can never be sure because small businesses are often overshadowed by large corporations and conglomerates. Sure, they may not generate as much revenue individually as large corporations but they’re vital to the success of our economy. There’s more commerce and trade variety now than in the past. Nearly anything imaginable can be transformed into a small business, and this is what the laws would have to protect. Imagine for a moment a world without the Microsoft as we know today. It is these factors we have to take into consideration. How can competition, which our society needs to grow and flourish, prosper when the small businesses cannot afford to compete in a setting where they were meant to thrive. There are so many apps out there to help the small business owner thrive and grow; do they just cease to exist now?
These businesses offer new solutions to real world problems. By imposing a rule whereby,to the victor go the spoils, would be taking power from the entrepreneur. ISP’S have to look out for their profits and the small businesses will most likely fall to the wayside because of it.
If ISPs have the ability to restrict the speeds of our internet based on the websites or apps that we use, they will be able to charge each website for data prioritization; this prioritization would allow a website’s users to have high internet speeds while browsing that site, which would mean that the sites would have to charge us more for consumption. As small business owners, especially those who sell products or services through the internet, you rely heavily on your website to bring in business. Imagine being told by an enterprise like Comcast that in order to allow your users to continue to browse your site at high speeds, you will need to pay a weighty fee for data prioritization. You would of course be unable to make those payments. At the same time, the multi-million-dollar competitors, whether they be Walmart or another supercenter, superstore, or megastore, have almost infinite funds to make sure their website speeds are consistent. This could, in fact, put a small entrepreneur out of business because of how internet traffic affects its bottom line or the crux of their profit margins.
Knowing this, many states, Washington, D.C foremost, have started to take measures to ensure that ISPs do not take advantage of the new mandate and make it impossible for small businesses to continue to grow and thrive. Take Washington D.C for example; the state went in direct violation with the FCC’s repeal. The State’s new law states that, The Washington state law prohibits home and mobile Internet providers from blocking or throttling lawful Internet traffic and from charging online services for prioritization. The rules will be enforced by the state attorney general under Washington’s Consumer Protection Act. (cite this)
The governors of five states Vermont, Hawaii, Montana, New Jersey, and New York have also issued executive orders to impose net neutrality rules on ISPs that provide Internet service to state government agencies. And while Washington was the first, it was definitely not the last. The governors of five states Vermont, Hawaii, Montana, New Jersey, and New York have also issued executive orders to impose net neutrality rules on ISPs that provide Internet service to state government agencies. Washington however, is the first one whose law applies broadly to all internet service providers. California too is speaking up and their law will be even stricter than Washington with a ban on paid data cap exemptions.
Not only are people taking notice, states are as well and that bodes well for the future legal status of net neutrality especially in concerns with the small business that feed the economy and foster change.
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