Undoing net neutrality would be a blow to consumers

December 2, 2017 GMT

Net neutrality is the idea that all content on the internet is treated equally.

It’s a concept that’s about to be trashed.

Thanks to net neutrality, internet service providers cannot slow down or block certain websites. That means content an internet service provider owns has to be delivered at the same speed as content from a competitor. You can’t have fast and slow lanes at different costs. It’s fair. It means businesses and consumers operate on a level playing field.

A small retailer’s website or app can load just as quickly as that of a national chain.

But that will go out the window if the Federal Communications Commission goes forward, as expected, with plans to repeal net neutrality rules.

Under the proposal, internet service providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and others could block or slow down websites they do not like and charge companies for faster delivery of their content.


FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has said his plan boosts innovation and will stop the federal government from “micromanaging the internet.”

In reality, it’s a massive giveaway to cable, broadband and wireless companies.

Just imagine if AT&T acquires Time Warner. It could then promote its new content on the internet while blocking or slowing a competitor’s content.

Net neutrality rules were put in place in 2015 under then-President Barack Obama. And analysts have noted deregulation under President Donald J. Trump is only guaranteed through 2020.

This reflects the need for Congress to pass legislation that ensures net neutrality, creating a lasting framework for a fair and open internet. That’s not going to happen under this plan.

The FCC forgets. It is also supposed to be protecting consumers.