This article from Motherboard.vice.com seems to make the case both FOR net neutrality AND against net neutrality. Though I’m sure the writer of this article, Kaleigh Rogers, fully intended to only support maintaining the net neutrality regs (the subtitle of her article, “A free market approach might have worked if we actually had competition,” kind of gives that away), her article actually makes the case both FOR and AGAINST net neutrality. First, let’s look at the key point of her article, but be sure to keep reading for a quick follow-up to her point and why I think she’s making the case both for and against net neutrality.
Of those who only have one option, roughly 50 million are limited to a company that has violated net neutrality in some way. Of Americans who do have more than one option, 50 million of them are left choosing between two companies that have both got shady behavior on their records, from blocking certain access to actively campaigning against net neutrality…
Imagine, for example, that a big ISP decides to cut a deal with a content provider so that only their customers can access the service, or can access it much more quickly, or for free. How are other ISPs supposed to compete when the existing powers can make up the rules?
When really pressed on the issue, Pai typically doubles down on the idea that even if the market isn’t able to completely preserve a free and open internet, the Federal Trade Commission can always step in to crack down on any bad actors. But as I reported for Motherboard last week, the FTC is limited in how and when it can enforce net neutrality standards for ISPs, and in fact may not be allowed to at all.
Read More at Motherboard.vice.com
Truthfully, figuring out which will hurt you, either ending the regs that might actually unleash regs which tampered by these regs, or keeping regs that might be protecting ‘customers’ from having to face the hard choices of developing alternatives to reg-created and reg-protected monopolies (should they choose to take full advantage of that state-sponsored monopoly position), has been a major challenge for me. As a matter of fact, I’ve stopped trying to figure it out.
Regardless of what happens I will simply encourage the spreading of mesh networks over reliance on ISPs and am even now trying to figure out how to do this for my own home. But back to this story. Kaleigh (I hope she doesn’t mind if I just call her Kaleigh, or if I just assumed her gender) points out (and I’ll take her word for it) that DESPITE net neutrality laws already existing , the most powerful ISPs have already violated net neutrality and, presumably, suffered no consequences fro their actions.
If this is the case, then what is the reason for supporting the continuation of net neutrality? After all, the ISPs are already flaunting the regs. In addition to that, Kaleigh cites a lack of competition as being her reason for supporting keeping net neutrality in place. What if those net neutrality rules are really just another layer of regs that ultimately protect the ISPs themselves from further competition
On the other side of the coin, the case can be made that, perhaps net neutrality, while it cannot 100 percent stop the abuse by ISPs, is at least making it harder for them to do so. If the ISPs are already violating net neutrality right now, how do you think they’ll treat their customers when the net neutrality gloves come off?