Following the filing I submitted last year regarding the heated net-neutrality debate, I have once again submitted a filing. Ajit Pai, the newly (Trump administration) FCC chairman aims to undo the net-neutrality victories from late last year. A great video posted by John Oliver gives a great primer into the debate (and provides racy and humorous anecdotes along with it).
As a self-identified libertarian, I am typically in favor of reduced regulation and letting the free market drive the economic impetus. However, the past decade has proven that unchecked corporations will eventually subvert to the likes of greed and shareholder earnings at the expense of delivering an innovative customer experience. I was pleased when the FCC classified ISPs as utilities, so we can accept that internet is not a privilege in today’s world: it’s more akin to a right. This also puts a more stringent oversight on how ISPs operate, which ends up benefitting the customer. This is unfortunate, however, as I am beholden to an idealistic society where corporations are serving the interests of customers, but that is not a world in which we live.
Following my libertarian beliefs, choice is liberty and liberty is choice. I do not want my service provider providing unfair advantages to certain partners, e.g., a small tech blog should have the same bandwidth access to me as Techcrunch. More seriously, I am concerned about providers completely blocking content based on partner deals, which is a ludicrous ask for a paying customer to have to deal with (similar to blackouts for professional sports; a reason I do not watch sports).
Unfortunately, Mr. Pai comes from corporate interests and his indication that service providers will promise to honor a fair an open internet is laughable. I am deeply unsettled with the head of the FCC and would welcome Mr. Wheeler’s leadership back to the FCC over the current status quo.
I urge everyone to speak their mind regarding the FCC proposal (even if your opinion is different than the one I provided). If what I say does resonate, also consider becoming a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.