On the 26th of February the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to keep the internet free and open. This in and of itself is good news for the everyday internet user. It keeps the internet classified as a utility; allowing all users to receive the same amount of access. The ruling makes it so that internet providers cannot slow down the speed of one site because they do not share the same ideals that it expresses.
Net neutrality keeps the internet a level playing field for all users. With the success of net neutrality, smaller startup businesses are able to compete with the bigger companies and prevail. The movement to keep net neutrality alive is supported both by the big companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon, and the individual people who believe that it should stay the same.
The ruling is not unanimously accepted. The FCC is preparing for an onslaught of lawsuits from the providers like Comcast, Time Warner and American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) who opposed net neutrality. The providers claim that the amount of megabytes that are provided to each user is a fair and equal amount, and that the new two tiered system will only make the internet usage better.
Last year, the internet service provider AT&T spent $17,460,000 on anti-net neutrality lobbying in Washington D.C.
This is just the tip of the iceberg that is lobbying in D.C.; reaching a total of $49,049,000 in anti-net neutrality spending by the top four companies against it. Those companies are in descending order of the amount of money spent are as follows: National Cable & Telecommunication Assn. at $18,890,000, AT&T Inc. at $17,460,000, Verizon Communications at $15,020,000, and Comcast Corp. at $14,680,000.
Most of those who oppose net neutrality, mainly made up of big service providers, have said that with the announcement of the ruling that they plan to seek legal recourse. Some say that they will look into more lobbying and lawsuits in hopes of getting their wanted two-tier system.
During the days following the announcement of the internet’s reclassification, the GOP was outspoken about their disagreement with the ruling. Over time, the party has split over the issue; some falling on the side of pro-net neutrality, and others on the side of anti-net neutrality.
The current ruling on net neutrality seems to be here to stay, but not without its fair share of opposition. However, without protected net neutrality, our use of the internet would change drastically; changing our modern-day internet focused life.
By Xan Daven-Thomas