The Federal Communications Commission announced on Tuesday that it planned to dismantle landmark regulations that ensure equal access to the internet, clearing the way for companies to charge more and block access to some websites.
The proposal, put forward by the F.C.C. chairman, Ajit Pai, is a sweeping repeal of rules put in place by the Obama administration that prohibited high-speed internet service providers from blocking or slowing down the delivery of websites, or charging extra fees for the best quality of streaming and other internet services for their subscribers.
The clear winners from the move would be telecom giants like AT&T and Comcast that have lobbied for years against regulations of broadband and will now have more control over the online experiences of American consumers. The losers could be internet sites that will have to answer to telecom firms to get their content in front of consumers. And consumers may see their bills increase for the best quality of internet service.
“Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet,” Mr. Pai said in a statement. “Instead, the F.C.C. would simply require internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate.”
This is not good for consumers and the way you can tell is that the businesses are cheering, while the consumers are storming the castle.
A couple of comments to the NY TImes reflect my feelings exactly:
Pai’s words are absurd and he knows it. The big, incumbent telecom providers are virtual monopolies and he knows it. As such, government has always had a role in significant regulation of such utility companies, and that is what they are. To suggest that all small businesses’ need is technical information to succeed is more deception and absurdity. The big telecoms will continue to block innovation, squeeze out middle-mile/data storage tech companies, take over and dominate content providers, and the result will be that the US economy will fall further behind as government treats infrastructure critical to all US businesses like it is Sears or Best Buy. Why not give the Interstate system to a single company and let them dictate which companies can transport which goods down it? Ten years from now, when people are writing about the demise of the US as a world economic power, they will be writing about this decision. We are indeed following the Russian model.
The only way to view this decision is to view it as a gratuitous gift to the plutocracy and a total subjugation of the common man to the desires of powerful corporate interests. At a time when this country is trying to deal with the dramatic increase in inequality between the ordinary person and those who harvest the riches of this society, this decision is a giant slap in the face to the common man and woman. We can blame Trump and the Republicans for this.
If Trump supporters actually believe that he cares about the ordinary citizen, this decision should disabuse them of that notion. Is this guy and his appointees capable of doing anything good? I haven’t seen it yet.
This is the beginning of the end of any hope of truth in media and our rights to free speech. The throttling, re-direction and micro-management of discussion and access to issues belonging in the “public square” will be killed by this move. The sale of our country to the corporatists has been completed.