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Death of the Internet: Repeal of net neutrality

January 3, 2018
Lehigh Acres Citizen

To the editor:

In the recent months that have passed, talk of the Federal Communications Commission moving to repeal net neutrality worried Americans all over the country. Last month, Ajit Pai, the chairman of the FCC, announced plans to meet on the 14th of December to vote on the repeal of net neutrality; an Obama-era that was passed in 2015. In principle, the purpose of net neutrality is to impose regulations on all Internet Service Providers, ensuring all data and content is treated equally. (e.g the abolition of throttling, blocking, and up charging certain data and content.) Some individuals, and groups, claim the repeal of net neutrality is going to destroy the Internet and limit the availability to certain data and content.

On Dec. 14, the FCC held the vote to repeal net neutrality, which passed 3-2.

The implementation of net neutrality regulates ISPs under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934; the same act that led AT&T to have a monopoly over telecommunications for decades.

Designating ISPs under Title II classifies telecommunications services as a "public utility-style" service. Under this classification, ISPs are under heavy regulations making it harder for investment towards innovation hindering competition, but also making it easier for ISPs to have monopoly in certain localities.

Why is it people feel inclined to believe that dismantling net neutrality will lead to the death of the Internet?

There is a massive movement on the Internet that claims after the repeal, companies (e.g Twitter, Facebook, etc.) will require customers to purchase a membership for the use of their service. Now, the idea of companies implementing a requirement of subscription for the use of their service is a possibility, but that possibility would not bode well for the companies.

When companies are looking to increase revenue, they look towards ideas and innovation.

Let's say Company A wants to implement a subscription service to increase revenue. In comes Company B who wants to compete with company A. Company B could analyze Company A and realize they require customers to purchase a subscription to use their service. Company B would have the possibility to offer the same service, for free. Offering their service for free could allow customers of Company A to save money, which would create an incentive to switch to Company B; customers switching to Company B would increase traffic of Company B and allowing Company B to encourage companies to place advertisements on their site. Because Company B gained customers from Company A, by allowing customers to use their service for free, Company B would gain more ad revenue, adding to their total revenue, thus becoming the better company by competition.

Death to the Internet? I think not.

Zachary Baulf

Cape Coral



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