Preserving Net Neutrality
February 25, 2015
I just heard a message on TV this morning imploring people to raise objections to President Obama's proposal called "Net Neutrality" and how it would impose fees for the use of the Internet that weren't already imposed. I said to myself, "Hey, wait a minute. Is that like being subjected to rate hikes by utility companies because the government's Federal Utilities Commission generally doesn't object to higher rates, especially if taxes are computed proportionally?

The message obviously was underwritten by lobbyists. Whose? Could major companies like Verizon and AT&T want a way to make more money off of how information is disseminated. I began thinking how accessing the Internet would be more costly for me as a user if those companies acted together to raise their access fees and/or that currently free services would have to pass along fees imposed on them. Right now thanks to free enterprise secondary companies like Sprint and T-Mobile are cutting deals with customers and compelling the giants also to lower rates or make plans more enticing in order to keep customers from defecting.

The Federal Communications Commission led by Democrat Tom Wheeler (a former cable and TV industry lobbyist who was appointed by Obama in 2013) claims that its intention is to impose rules that will protect an open Internet--the idea that Internet providers must give equal access to content and applications and not force content providers like the video-sharing YouTube to pay for faster delivery.

In Googling how the FCC is going to impose Net Neutrality I found that it plans to reclassify broadband as a "common carrier" or network open to everyone. Rather than continuation of the relatively non-burdensome regulation the broadband industry has enjoyed for the past 20 or so years, broadband will be subject to a reclassification as Title II telecommunications service under Communications Act of 1934.

"Another option would be for Congress to pass a new law specifically designed to regulate the ISPs in a way that would benefit citizens of the United States. Just kidding, thatís not actually an option for some reason." --comments by Fran Berkman/The Daily Dot

Critics opposed to the Title II reclassification claim that the growth of the Internet can only be attributed to a laissez faire government policy allowing for minimal or no government intervention. What they are afraid of is the government will force them to set rates and/or open their networks to competitors. They want users to know that the FCC could also impose new taxes on the service that would have to be passed along to consumers like you and me.

I'm thinking since when doesn't the consumer get it in the pocketbook, one way or the other? Have I been paranoid over seeing "404 errors" or that the website I am trying to load isn't found. Any impediment to free access makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

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