Editorial: Trump’s Administration Disastrous For Net Neutrality
On November 8th the people of the United States made the decision to give the Presidency, the House and the Senate to Republicans. If you care at all about Net Neutrality that is a very bad thing. Regardless what side of the fence you sit on, it is a fact the GOP doesn’t look very highly on these rules and will almost certainly remove them. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, Net Neutrality is a set of rules that guarantee that Netflix’s traffic must be treated the same as traffic from Comcast’s own streaming offering, or YouTube, or that adorable cat video your Nana sent to you on Facebook. Without these rules there is nothing stopping ISP’s from charging streaming providers extra to prioritize their traffic. A company like Netflix or Google with YouTube could afford to pay the premium, but the next ground-breaking service that is waiting in the wings to make it’s mark on society won’t. The next smart kid with a great idea won’t be able to shell out a bunch of cash to the different ISPs for the “internet express-lane” which will make the experience lesser than that of the big guys. Now the next great idea will meet an early grave because there was no Net Neutrality to make sure their bits were treated with the same priority as the bits from Comcast’s Video On Demand service.
As you could imagine, this is not a great thing for those of us that rely on streaming services for most of their content. Something like SlingTV may not have ever made it off of the whiteboard before being scrapped because of the high costs of paying the ISP’s their blood money to avoid a buffering low quality nightmare. Not having these regulations is going to stifle innovation.
All that being said, the internet world doesn’t have to end. With the razor-thin split between the opposing views of this county there is still a lot of noise that can be made if and when the Republicans attempt to roll back these regulations. FCC chairman and former Comcast lobbyist of all things, Tom Wheeler has proven instrumental in keeping the ISPs from running amok. Unfortunately he will almost assuredly be replaced as chair, but may elect to stay on as a commissioner until his term expires in 2018 in order to preserve at 2-2 split between Democrats and Republicans to help keep things tied up for at least a while.
If Wheeler elects to stay on with the FCC that will buy valuable time to preserve the rules until Midterm Elections. At that point there will be elections held for all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and a pretty good chunk of the Senate as well.
If this important issue resonates with you and you understand the importance of preserving Net Neutrality you will need to let your particular congress critters that if they want to keep their jobs in 2018 they will need to keep Net Neutrality in tact. Don’t underestimate the impact you can have by writing your Representatives and making your voice heard. Remember, we killed SOPA and PIPA and we can do it again!