The Battle For Net Neutrality And The Likely Repeal Of Title ll
Title ll of the "Communications Act of 1934", signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt is known as the "common carrier" clause of the act, defining certain organizations, businesses, services, etc as "public goods", and offering protection for those goods to prevent against exploitation. This is important to note, because this debate, while centered on the internet, applies to any such "common carrier", that, for the service of the public, provides said good and/services. Such would be the case with your local bus rout, for example. Title ll provisions that "public carriers" meet certain safety requirements and evidence to the regulating body that they are fit to provide the service, or good. This act of sweeping deregulation would, hypothetically, loosen regulations offering safety precautions to bus riders, and other users of public goods or services. Now that this is out of the way, as I felt it was necessary given the extremely limited dialogue surrounding this debate, let's move on to the center of the modern discussion involving Title ll, or "Net Neutrality"...
As of June 12th, 2015, the FCC included Internet Service Providers (ISP's) in the aforementioned listing of "common carriers". This insured that those ISP's would be, as a "common carrier", disallowed from showing favoritism for some sites over others, or some services over others. One example of this has been Comcast's "throttling" of P2P (Peer to Peer) file sharing. Ironically, Comcast is now vowing, in light of a debate on net neutrality, that they will not engage in that very behavior. This inclusion of ISP's in the list of "common carriers" was termed "Net Neutrality" by media law professor Tim Wu in 2003.
What Are The Implications Of Revoking Title ll?
Former Verizon attorney, and current head of the FCC under Donald Trump, Ajit Pai, has proposed that the FCC revoke Title ll of the Communications Act. This would declassify ISP's as "common carriers", and permit them to host the internet, not as a "public good", but as a privatized service. They would hypothetically be permitted to throttle the internet speed of someone who has a "basic internet package", and offer more high-speed internet to those who pay more money for better internet service. It could also, as another hypothetical, create fast and slow "lanes of traffic", with paid access to the faster "lanes", or separate the internet into clusters, offering access to different clusters of websites under different plans. This would undoubtedly adversely affect smaller websites (and obviously anti-establishment sources) like the one you're reading at the moment, and provide unequal access to larger corporate sponsors, aiding the corporate consolidation of media worse than it has already become for consumers of news and information.
In the beginning of May, 2017, center-left commentator, comedian, and political analyst John Oliver dedicated a 20 minute segment to the topic of net neutrality, concluding said segment by urging his viewers to leave their comments on the FCC's website. He noted that the comments page was overtly difficult to access, which he bypassed by purchasing the domain "gofccyourself.com", making it easier for users to place their comments. The vote for Ajit Pai's proposal is scheduled for December 14th.