Op-Ed: No Net Neutrality = Slowing down the future with politics

Posted Dec 11, 2017 by Paul Wallis
The Trump administration’s decision to end Net Neutrality will be a disaster for business, for consumers, and for trade. This decision can turn the internet into Big Pharma v.2. Is that bad enough? How much worse does it need to be?
Internet user
Internet user
Photo by jared Tarbell
The FCC decision to reverse the Net Neutrality laws is based on handing over control of US net services to the corporate sector. It’s as healthy an idea as it sounds. Online businesses, banks, financials, you name it, the entire plugged-in world will be affected.
Worst affected, however, will be the United States.
The rest of the world can route around the US, but US consumers and businesses will bear the full weight of this incredibly stupid decision. Digital transformation and new generation tech will be effectively suffocated by an absurd insistence in "solving" a problem that doesn't even exist theoretically, in the name of politics.
No Net Neutrality means:
• Services may be “throttled” (slowed down)
• ISP prices will dictate speeds and efficiencies.
• Big Data loads could cost a lot more.
• Cloud services, which rely on high server efficiency, could be “metered” to gouge consumers and businesses.
• The financial sector, which conducts billions of transactions per day, could be hit hard by upward pricing variations.
Net Neutrality was put in place for a lot of good reasons. The idea was to ensure services without prejudice, without price gouging, and deliver services at competitive prices.
The tech sites, like Ars Technica, are screaming blue murder. They’re saying that the FCC has used a false description of internet technologies to back up its decision.
(The FCC doesn’t think broadband is a form of communication, which is covered by carriage laws. Instead, the FCC calls broadband an information service. How do you use information without communication? Ask the FCC. The answer is likely to be hilarious, if expensive.)
Like everyone else who objects to administration policies, the tech guys, including the guys who invented internet protocols and DNS, have been ignored.
There are some other issues, not least of which is the fact that this new decision actively conflicts with other American laws like carriage laws. It’s unlike that mere facts will have any impact, of course. A court case might change things and force a rethink, but don’t hold your breath.
There’s not much point in trying to reason with this administration on any subject, either. The reasons for not revoking Net Neutrality wouldn’t be fun reading for any American, anyway:
1. Regressive/prehistoric tech policies are destroying America’s technological advantages across the board. Revoking Net Neutrality is similar to clinging on to oil and coal.
2. America is dependent on the internet for so many things. The internet is currently, with some very arguable exceptions, cost-efficient, and highly productive. (If you were born after 1995 or so, you really have no idea how much more efficient and productive. The pre-internet days were grim, and even bitchier than now.)
3. New tech, like the Cloud, AI, and Big Data, are dependent on a reliable internet. If they’re obstructed by ridiculous commercial penny-pinching, all that tech will go elsewhere.
4. The EU and other countries, including China, aren’t considering changes. If the US goes backwards while they’re going forwards, the US stands to be a big loser.
5. Foreigners don’t have to play ball with the new regime. Routing around the US is easy. It’s like going from one fast food joint to another. It can be done in minutes, reducing revenue for US service providers and sending a lot of business elsewhere.
6. Streaming services like Netflix will be easily gouge-able. That’s big money in the US domestic market, which will be held hostage to a naïve, politically driven tantrum.
7. Net Neutrality is very much like trahat’s what’s likely to happen.
8. There are possible legal liabilities, too. If No Net Neutrality means failure to deliver on service contracts, particularly those which quote terms of service, broadband speeds, and other basic contract terms. Clear enough, bunnies?
Make America Wait Again?
This is the internet equivalent of Brexit, a dumb, totally unnecessary move which simply harms the US, and nobody else. The US will effectively cut itself out of a major global market, with no redeeming benefits. Putting costs on any internet service will do nobody in the US any favours, even the ISPs. As usual with Trump and GOP policies, the future will suffer, particularly the transformation of digital technologies upon which modern civilization depends.
Expect to wait for service, uploads, downloads, streaming, etc. The sheer number of basic services this decision can trash is amazing, as well as nauseating. America will be waiting, again, and again, and again…
Flintstones-level American politics vs the internet
It seems to be axiomatic among conservative politicians that the societies and systems which put them in power must be destroyed. That includes the technologies which have changed America and the world forever.
The internet has made many billionaires and, for that matter, GOP donors. The internet was a global game changer, very much for the better, despite an apathetically pathetic internet security system and comatose laws and regulations.
There’s no obvious justification for burning down America’s online house while throwing the tech babies out with the bathwater. It’s in keeping with a fake government, a “shallow state” of shills for corporate greed, and a pack of pathological political liars whose competence has never been proven. That’s about it, for rationales.
America is going backwards, fast. TASS, the Russian newspaper, is currently running a story on the findings of a US think tank that America would lose a war with Russia and China. That story is all about technical backwardness, and at least some of it is clearly true. In space, China is catching up fast. In trade, the US is getting buried by more modern, more efficient economies.
In a very hostile world, the No Net Neutrality thing may just be the straw that breaks the overloaded eagle’s back. Let’s hope it doesn’t, but if America wants to exist, let alone be great again, this endless stampede to stupidity must stop.