In Epic 3-2 Decision, FCC Votes To Destroy Obama’s Net Neutrality Regulations
By Mick Farthing|December 18, 2017
In Epic 3-2 Decision, FCC Votes To Destroy Obama’s Net Neutrality Regulations

To say that the internet revolutionized society is hardly sufficient to describe the results of the development of this technology. Whole industries have been created and others diminished. The free flow of information on such a vast scale has allowed individuals with similar interests to locate and communicate with each other. That people can be walking down the street and order groceries or trade stocks from a hand-held phone would have been the thing of science fiction not that many years ago.

Anytime we confront an entity with that much power, there will be concerns of control. And control over the internet can impact healthcare, the economy, the flow of news, and the ability of people, businesses, and the government to communicate. So, tampering with the internet is a matter of greatest importance.

In response to this, Mr. Obama enacted what came to be called “net neutrality.” This essentially put the internet under government control like a public utility. In this case, the FCC was in charge and supervised operations as well as innovations involving the internet. The current FCC has ended Mr. Obama’s legacy of net neutrality which is a win for America.

“The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to repeal internet regulations Wednesday that the agency imposed in 2015, signaling a culmination to a long-winded and highly heated debate.

“Net neutrality — an amorphous concept generally meaning all internet traffic should be treated equally — has been fiercely contested in recent years, increasing in intensity over recent months. Specifically, the best way to enforce net neutrality, or ensure that internet service providers (ISPs) don’t partake in unfair practices, is the crux of the policy dispute.

“Proponents of the net neutrality rules imposed by former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler argue that placing the government at the center of the internet is needed to ensure wireless carriers like Comcast and Verizon don’t triage consumers by offering different services with varying speeds, also known as fast lanes. They further contend that the regulations are integral to preventing content owners (think Netflix and Hulu) from paying broadband providers to ‘cut to the front of the line’ at congested nodes of internet traffic, also known as ‘paid prioritization.’ Such corporations could also conceivably favor their own content over that of others in what sometimes is called ‘vertical prioritization.'”

That would be a summary of Mr. Obama’s position. What follows is the reasoning of the three FCC commissioners who put an end to Mr. Obama’s net neutrality.

“Critics of the net neutrality rules, and thus proponents of the FCC’s imminent decision to repeal the mandate, are generally supportive of a neutral internet, just not in its present state under the Title II category. The onus to police the industry from engaging in anti-competitive behavior has fallen on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for years (along with the Department of Justice’s own oversight). The FCC’s imminent repeal plans to restore jurisdictional authority to the FTC.

“Even ISPs have said they agree there should be a neutral internet as long as it doesn’t overly burden their ability to operate freely and offer special deals that can benefit consumers.

“‘You’re internet Thursday afternoon will not change in any significant or substantial way from the internet you are experiencing today on Wednesday. Nor will it be different next week, nor will it be different on a Thursday a year from now,’ Michael Powell, president and CEO of NCTA, a trade association representing the internet and television association, said in a media briefing. ‘This isn’t just a hollow promise or pledge — it’s rooted in sound self-interest. I think one of the things that the debate often obscures is the fact that ISPs like net neutrality too … they make a lot of money on an open internet.'”

This has been an issue debated with much acrimony and even violent threats. In many cases, those arguing their cases are not even fully aware of all the issues. As one former FCC chairman pointed out, the sky will not fall no matter which side prevails.

That said, here is Chairman Pai’s position:

“Pai says his plan, which is supported by the two other Republican Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr, will satisfy both those core principles due to a mandate that ISPs be transparent with their practices and offerings. That way, the FTC steps in only when it deems necessary.

“‘Tomorrow is an important day as the FCC will vote on rolling back heavy handed Obama-era Internet regulations,’ Pai told The Daily Caller News Foundation.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Adams and said, “I think all the world would gain by setting commerce at perfect liberty.”

We are a very long way from Jefferson’s ideal. But removing the heavy hand of government from the internet is a very small step in the right direction.

Source: Political Insider

Mick Farthing
Mick is a freelance writer, cartoonist, and graphic designer. He is a regular contributor for the Patriot Journal.
Mick is a freelance writer, cartoonist, and graphic designer. He is a regular contributor for the Patriot Journal.
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