It seems like repealing the broadband privacy rules wasn’t enough to quench the raging heart of Ajit Pai.Mr. Pai has now redirected his arrows towards the long-debated net neutrality rules.
What is Net Neutrality?
Basically, net neutrality promotes the concept of an open Internet. The current rules classify ISPs, broadband and Telcos as a common carrier service which are consequently subject to government supervision.
With the telecom companies under strict government oversight, the Internet users are free to access any content and enjoy constant Internet experience on every network carrier. Constant Internet experience means that no application, web service or content should be blocked by ISPs.
Moreover, ISPs are also not allowed to cash in on the concept of paid prioritization that they are notorious for doing by assigning the Internet traffic from certain web services to faster lanes while putting some on slower lanes. Of course, they assign fast lanes only to those media companies that shell out a good compensation for it.
However, all these rules are soon going to go through an overhaul because of the newly proposed draft by Ajit Pai.
Net Neutrality under Aji Pai’s Reign
On April 26, 2017, Ajit Pai, the new FCC chairman, forwarded a draft on the net neutrality issue, opposing the concept of reclassifying Telecommunication companies as public utilities.
Ajit argues that the current rules that govern Telcos and ISPs are harmful to businesses as they impose strict regulations. In a speech presented at the Newseum in Washington, he stated:“It’s basic economics. The more heavily you regulate something, the less of it you’re likely to get.”
The proposal forwarded with a comical label, Restoring Internet Freedom, talks about how the new rules would promote broadband development, increase competition, etc.
How it Encourages Preferential Treatments
The new net neutrality rules passed by the FCC relaxes government supervision on ISPs, broadband and telecommunication companies. With no strict regulations, ISPs would be legally allowed to control any web service or application however it wants, which includes blocking any undesirable web service or application on any given IP address they want.
The worst part is that ISPs would start giving preferential treatments to those who pay a hefty amount to promote their services. In exchange for a hefty amount, ISPs would gladly place an agency’s content on faster Internet lanes, while keeping the rest on slower lanes.
The unfair treatment isn’t going to be any problem for the industry giants as they can always get ahead of the competition by throwing more cash. However, it is surely going to make the playing field uneven for small businesses and startups who already experience a hard time promoting their brand due to tough competition.
On the fast and slow lane issue, the former FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler along with Ron Wyden, Al Franken said in an interview with the Washington Post, “Internet service providers treated YouTube’s videos the same as they did Google’s, and Google couldn’t pay the ISPs to gain an unfair advantage, like a fast lane into consumers’ homes. Well, it turned out that people liked YouTube a lot more than Google Video, so YouTube thrived.”
The new rules are also opposed by 800 tech startups including popular names like Y Combinator and more. In fact, the tech startups have a sent a letter directly to Ajit Pai’s office insisting onre thinking the new policies.
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