Net Neutrality is the belief that internet service providers do not charge for specific sites but treat all internet usage data equally. This belief is that internet service providers have to treat all online usage data the same, they cannot block, slow down or charge you for visiting specific sites. But recently the Federal Communications Commission, run by Ajit Pai, is planning to make net neutrality a thing of the past. This would null the Net Neutrality rules passed by the Obama administration.
Ajit Pai, believes that because of Net Neutrality, many broadband services are not competitive enough. He was a former lawyer for Verizon and he believes that the broadband providers need to have competition. Before the Obama administration made the Net Neutrality rules there were many internet providers who were blocking certain sites. For example, Comcast were purposefully slowing down people from sharing files and AT&T was blocking many internet-based calling services such as skype until 2009. And in 2015 an Obama appointee, Tom Wheeler, the chair of the Federal Communications Commission, created a set of specific rules that protected Net Neutrality. These rules ensured that internet providers could not block certain websites and apps, or charge video streaming services such as YouTube and Netflix more money to give them a faster internet speed.
When Donald Trump became the President, he wanted to start to have the government deregulate and one of his plans was to get rid of the net neutrality rules. He then appointed Ajit Pai the head of the FCC. This is where the issue of Net Neutrality became increasingly political. President Donald Trump believes that providing net neutrality does not allow for a free market for internet service providers. He is a fiscal conservative so he believes the economy should be deregulated and that businesses should have the freedom to charge what they want, according to the market forces of supply and demand.
California saw that Net Neutrality rules were starting to be removed and in September 2018, the state of California enacted a strong net neutrality law to provide equal access to the World Wide Web for everyone. After Governor Jerry Brown signed the net neutrality bill, the Justice Department sued California. Governor Brown is a democrat, and similar to many other democrats they believe that internet should be able to provide equal access to everyone. The justice department was able to sue California because the bill that Governor Brown passed was illegal. It is an illegal bill because the federal government, through the FCC was granted by congress to be have full authority to create rules for internet service providers. The reason for the authority granted to the federal government is because states cannot regulate interstate commerce. So, the bill that Governor Brown signed was an illegal state law.
By December 10th the house of representatives needs to have a majority signature to put Net Neutrality rules. They need 218 signatures but currently there is on 177 signatures and 176 are democrats. And because of the midterm elections the senate has a republican majority whom support the removal of net neutrality. The 18 democrats who have taken large campaign contributions from Telecom companies such as AT&T and Verizon are the final democrats that have not signed. They support the deregulation from the government so that businesses can start charging for specific sites. This would give internet service providers like AT&T and Verizon monopoly on what sites you can visit.
The political forces at work are the clash between the beliefs between Republicans and Democrats on how much the federal government should regulate businesses. The Republicans believe that the government should deregulate and that businesses should run with fewer governmental regulations and the Democrats lean towards the belief that the government should regulate businesses to create and equal opportunity for everyone. Economic forces are the contributions to campaigns that some internet service providers provided for some of the Democratic members of the house. These contributions dissuade the Democratic members of the house to put their signatures for the reinstatement of net neutrality.
The parties at interest are the Internet Service Providers, the Federal Government, the FCC, state governments and the house of representatives. The Federal Government along with Internet Service Providers, the FCC, and the majority of the house of representatives want to make Net Neutrality a thing of the past. On the other hand, the democrats want to reinstate Net Neutrality, but they do not have enough signatures to get a majority because of the Republicans holding more seats in the house of representatives. Some states such as California have tried to reinstate Net Neutrality in their states and pass a bill that protects their right to Net Neutrality. But the laws that are relevant here are that States cannot regulate interstate commerce which means individual states cannot reinstate Net Neutrality if they want to. Also, Congress has given full authority to the Federal Government by the FCC to create the rules for internet service providers.
My forecast would be that the Net Neutrality rules are not going to be restored because the Republican Majority in the house ensures that the democrats will not be able to get 218 signatures to get a majority to restore Net Neutrality. In addition, since the FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai was appointed by President Donald Trump, it is very unlikely that Net Neutrality would be restored. On the other hand, Internet Service Providers such as Verizon and AT&T may or may not change their payment plans.
In theory the companies can charge more for visiting specific sites and slow down connections to specific sites and ban some sites all together. They could also make people pay premium for specific sites as well. I believe that these internet service providers would start slowing down some sites and make video streaming sites pay more to allow for a smoother and faster internet speed for users. And I predict that these internet service providers will also start to charge people for access to certain sites and faster speeds to various video and music streaming services.
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