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Comments of the Day: the Attempted Repeal of Net Neutrality by Ajit Pai

2017-12-15

This comment was attached to a New York Times article about the repeal of “Net Neutrality”– the repeal, pushed through on party lines despite massive public opposition, is another of the new administration’s many moves to dismantle regulations intended to protect consumers from unfair actions by businesses, most of them put in place by the Obama administration.

DJA

Houston 1 day ago

How is this in any way “making America great again?!” With each decision by this current administration, we are taking many steps backwards to the way things were done years ago. When your entire agenda is to dismantle really good things put in place by a previous administration, simply for the reason you did not like the previous administration, you really are not running the country but carrying out your own personal and vengeful agenda.

Another anguished comment, more detailed:

deus02

Toronto 1 day ago

In July of 2017 a letter was sent to the members of the FCC by over 200 of the most influential and informed technical engineers including the original developers of the internet itself and the world wide web. It stated, quite unequivocally, that removing Net Neutrality was based on a totally flawed premise, with little technical knowledge applied to the decision and contrary to the arguments that it will encourage innovation, will actually do quite the opposite. Mid to small businesses who rely on the “net” were extremely concerned as well about this impending decision. All of this has been ignored. It should be noted that several other countries have gone in the opposite direction with this issue and once again America will be out of step with the rest of the world.

This is just another way of concentrating media into fewer hands, supplying another cash cow to already giant corporations and ultimately, it is another dagger into the heart of what is left of American democracy.

Yet another, despairing commenter:

Fred Caramilo

Houston 1 day ago

What is the point of the public commenting on proposed regulations if the regulators pay no attention to those comments? Tens of millions of people took the time to voice their opposition to this reform, but the FCC Chairman purports to know better than the people themselves what is good for them.

Yet another comment, replying to a commenter who claimed that people can switch internet service providers (the “last mile” of connection) if they are dissatisfied:

Adam Davies

Washington DC 1 day ago

It’s not that simple. These protections were enacted in 2015 after the courts said that existing net neutrality agreements were not enforceable unless last mile internet service providers were classified as Title II carriers. Consequently, the FCC classified them as such in 2015 in order to maintain the status quo.

Net Neutrality has been around and applied since the early 90’s. It’s just that Verizon challenged it in court and won, which led to the 2015 regulations. We are actually in uncharted territory here.

Lastly, you seem to be belaboring under the mistaken impression that there is competition in the last mile provider ISP market. 78% of Americans do not have more than one broadband provider*.

*2015 data with broadband provider being classified as an ISP that provides at least 25 mbps downstream, 3 mbps upstream.

Europe does not have “Net Neutrality” laws– but there is intense competition for the business of the consumer over that “last mile” of connectivity.  Most European internet subscribers have a choice of several– at least four or five — different Internet Service Providers, whereas Americans overwhelmingly have either one (78%) or two possibilities for different companies to provide fast service.  So American companies usually have monopolies or near-monopolies and must be regulated much more firmly to prevent them from abusing their customers and getting away with it.

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