Saving Net Neutrality 

Earth’s population spends a major part of their lives on the internet. If Net Neutrality is abolished, the people will be limiting part of our lives. Not having Net Neutrality around also can affect public safety or our safety in general when it comes to Internet services. The Federal Communication Commission or FCC is working to terminate Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers treat all data on the Internet equally, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. The FCC believes Net Neutrality’s “rules are too burdensome and that they stifle innovation and competition.”, Ajit Pai, the FCC chairman. If the FCC succeeds in killing and changing Net Neutrality then Internet service providers will be able to discriminate and charge each user differently, but some people are fighting for Net Neutrality so the Internet is free and equal.

“As of June 2018, 55.1 percent of the world’s population has internet access.” Global Internet usage. People utilize the internet for tons of purposes. For one they use it for Communications, and if Net Neutrality would be erased than that could mean communication would be more expensive and slower to maintain. It would also affect personal and professional relationships. People also use the web for recreational or entertainment and of course entertainment is used to engage in personal interest, enjoy themselves, and stress relief. One other important thing is people use the Internet for research. People, countless times have turned to the web to search up things they have needed such as medical conditions, news, history practice for work at school, and more. People shouldn’t let the Internet be not equal if they want to keep the basic principles of communication, entertainment, and research.

Net Neutrality is in place so the web can have equality. In this sense, the word equality means that internet service providers won’t be able to charge uses differently because of who they are(this includes race and gender), content(information that is available for retrieval by the user), platform( the basic hardware and software on which software applications can be run), type of attached equipment( computer mouse,keyboard,graphics cards, modem,router, and etc), or method of communication( Skype, Facebook, Discord,email, SMS chat,video chat, and VoIP Phones). Net Neutrality started in 2003 by Tim Wu, an American lawyer/ professor at Columbia Law School, when he used it as an extension of the long-standing concept of a common carrier, which was used to describe the role of the telephone. Reversing net neutrality was a big win for providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT and T, and a blow to tech firms like Facebook,Amazon and Google’s parent company, Alphabet because ISPs can now choose to slow down those websites or services if they choose to just because they favor them. “Lack of Net Neutrality rules can have real-world consequences on wireless data”, Epicenter Works. New data from dozens of countries in the European Union suggest that when a country allows zero-rating programs, it ends up seeing an increase in wireless prices over time.

Zero-rating is the practice of providing Internet access without financial cost under certain conditions. The multi-year study by Epicenter Works shows that countries that allow these programs to end up seeing higher costs for wireless data down the road. When Pai or FCC rolled back Net Neutrality rules in 2018, it allowed for carriers like AT and T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint to create programs like this again since there are no longer in rules to follow “Based on the evidence, zero rating not only serves as a means to enhance ISPs’ power over the Internet, but it’s also how they charge consumers more money for wireless service,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a blog post. Another violation of Net Neutrality which is widely cited example was when Comcast was secretly slowing down uploads from peer- to peer or P2P file-sharing applications by using forged packets and did not stop until the FCC ordered them too. Net Neutrality in the United States has been a point of conflict between network users and service providers since the 1990s, and when the rules expired on June 11th, 2018 various states created their own Net Neutrality rules.

The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government created by statute to regulate interstate communications by radio, television, wire satellite, and cable. It was formed by the Communications Act of 134 to replace the radio regulation functions of the Federal Radio Commission. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the media, public security, and modernizing itself. Now in 2019, the FCC’s Chairman has won the battle against Net Neutrality and has claimed the “broadband speed improvements and new fiber deployments in 2018 occurred because of his Net Neutrality repeal.” Pai didn’t mention a recent case in which CenturyLink temporarily blocked its customers’ Internet access in order to show an add or a recent research report accusing Spring of throttling(intentional slowing or speeding of internet services) Skype (which Sprint denies.”) stated by Jon Brodkin.

“In the months leading up to the FCC assault on Net Neutrality, big telecom and FCC boss Ajit Pai told anybody who’d listen that killing Net Neutrality would boost broadband industry investment, spark job creation, and drive broadband into underserved areas at an unprecedented rate.”, Karl Bode, motherboard.vice.com. It turns out none of those promises were actually true because, despite the FCC voting to kill network neutrality. Carriers are starting to invest less than when the Federal Communications Commission rules were in place. Comcast’s last’s latest earnings report indicates that the cable giant’s capital expenditures( CAPEX) for 2018 actually decreased 3 percent. CAPEX or capital expenditures “are funds used by a company to acquire, upgrade, and maintain physical assets such as property, industrial buildings, or equipment.”, Investopedia. This can be seen in similar statements by Verizon and Charter Spectrum that they’d also be seeing lower network investment numbers in 2018. It’s not expected to get better this year at all, because according to analysis this week by Wall Street research firm Moffett Nathanson, it is expected to decline upwards of 5.8 percent this year. Phone companies are similarly expected to see their wireline capex fall down $20.3 billion in 2018 to $19. 6 billion this year, which was noted by the firm. Investment in wireless is expected to go up slightly thanks to 5G but the overall investment is way more sluggish than many had could ever predict.

The rollback on net neutrality, now starting to affect public safety. Now firefighters are joining the fight for net neutrality because “Last summer, during the largest fire in California history, firefighters encountered an unexpected danger.”, Soo Youn, Abc News. This danger didn’t have anything to do with flames,smoke, or wind speeds, it was the fact they couldn’t communicate with each other. While fighting off the Mendocino Complex Fire, Verizon was throttling, or deliberately slowing,internet speeds on their phones. Fire officials in Santa Clara exchanged emails with ABC News which said “Verizon is currently throttling OES 5262 so severely that it’s hampering operations for assigned crew. This is not the first time we have had this issue. In December of 2017 while deployed to the Prado Obilization Center supporting a series device with the same SIM card also throttled.” Fire Department spokesman Bill Murphy told ABC news, :Verizon,throttled down speed to below dial-up speeds, and they asked our guys to call customer service to upgrade their plan.” The firefighters were forced to use their personal devices as internet hotspots instead.

Now that Net Neutrality has been loss, people continue to fight on to have it restored. Court has already given the green light for another argument over Net Neutrality despite the government shutdown. “Supporters are challenging the FCC’s repeal of the rules, and the FCC is challenging states that pass their own Net Neutrality regulations.” stated by Marguerite Reardon. The FCC now wants to postpone the argument for Net Neutrality, an action that is okay with cable and telco ISPs(Internet Service Providers). In court, they said, “…due to the recent lapse in funding for the FCC and the relevant component of the Department of Justice, the Commission believes that, in an abundance of caution, it should move for an extension to ensure that attorneys may fully prepare for argument. “(John Eggerton)

“The court has decided shutdown or not, the consolidated lawsuits facing the FCC over its 2017 rules that wiped out Net Neutrality protections nationwide will go forward on Feb 1st…”. Dell Cameron, Gizmodo.com The agency claimed that they couldn’t produce the resources needed to advance its case because of the government shutdown. The suit against the Federal Communication Commission is motioned by petitioners, including companies and organizations such as the Mozilla Corporation, Public Knowledge, Free Press, the Open Technology Institute at New America, and 21 state attorney generals. Amy Keating, Mozilla’s general counsel, states “In a case where consumers protections are at stake, we are glad to see hearing proceed as planned.” The petitioners will explain out-loud before a three-judge panel “why they believe Net Neutrality rollback will ultimately result in harm to consumers and small businesses”, Dell Cameron. The FCC will have to defend its decision, with support from numerous intervenors; primarily trade groups that represent At and T, Verizon, Comcast, and other major telecoms. When the FCC rolled back its Net Neutrality rules it gave its authority to investigate and punish carriers over privacy violations involving data by reckoning its Title II classification under the Communications Act.