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Op-Ed: Internet disaster in progress — FCC to repeal net neutrality

Net neutrality is a range of US regulations which requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to treat all web content fairly. Repealing these provisions means ISPs will be able to gouge users for services like Netflix, etc.
Net neutrality rules also prevent blocking and paid prioritization, which gives paying customers priority over basic users. Instead of regulating, or “micromanaging” the internet as the FCC calls it, it’ll be open slather for any degree of money grubbing.
Another fun fact is that the FCC now simply wants “transparency” from ISPs. Transparency is privatization code for “no rules, no penalties, and only those who can afford lawyers can get justice”. It’s been a disaster throughout the Western world in all other sectors, and the internet will be no exception.
Screw the nice expressions; this is a train wreck
This abortion of a totally unnecessary repeal deserves some rich, brutal commentary. Nowhere else but in senile, backward, corrupt, money-psychotic, organized crime-worshipping conservative America would anyone be so pig-ignorant as to enact open slather rules on the net.
As though the “dark web”, aka the criminal web, isn’t bad enough, a no-rules internet would be just as bad or worse. The only people who think the no laws scenario is good are criminals. Imagine the potential for money laundering, hacking, online fraud, and “officially sanctioned” ripoffs by ISPs.
The rest of the world has been umming and aahing about net regulation. Some don’t think it can work. Some think it might, but aren’t too sure. Others are against it on principle, but admit there must be safeguards and standards.
The US, as usual, has found a cliff and decided to jump off it – again. Also as usual, this act of classic conservative bastardry is all about money. Imagine an internet and/or phone plan (phones will be affected) which allows ISPs to create charges out of thin air.
Now imagine the usual monopoly, slight variations on prices, but net costs still go up, and there’s no requirement for standards of service. Cluster all round? You bet, and it’ll be monumental.
The FCC, which can now justly be called the Fake Communications Commission, claimed that investment by ISPs was declining. It wasn’t and it isn’t. The FCC thinks “throttling” or blocking websites is OK. Imagine that as a political weapon or propaganda tool. It’s not OK, and it can never be OK.
Now add the sparkling internet ecology of spam bots, ID fraud, phishing, etc. to this wonderful picture of total incompetence. You can bet the spam servers and all the other nasties won’t be bothered by repealing net neutrality, because this repeal is a license to do nothing for ISPs.
For years since Thatcher/Reagan, the idea that services to consumers can be left to rot has been standard for global conservatives. Handing out public property and money to all their little friends is the other part of this basic approach. This repeal is very much part of that process. If the internet is allowed to turn in to just another money making service, you can assume that consumers will suffer, severely.
Repeal = Own goal against the United States
The irony is that the US couldn’t possibly have chosen a bigger own goal to score against itself.
There are alternatives:
1. Isolate the US ISPs online as inferior service providers. They’re already pretty abysmal. ISPs are available globally. Can you imagine banks and money launderers and tax dodgers queuing up for slow US ISPs? Why not route through Europe, at lower costs and better speeds? If the US servers can’t keep up, to hell with them.
2. Install higher speed networks outside the US. The fossil factory which makes these policies will get around to competitive speeds, sometime in the next century, but until then, you can make big money as an ISP simply by not being a US ISP.
3. Simply offer better deals. The US is unique in its acceptance of ridiculously high prices for basics. Any foreign company, say in Canada or Mexico, could make a killing as an ISP simply by providing good services at reliable prices.
The only alternative for the US is not to go through with this mindless repeal. I don’t know what it is about this administration, but I have never seen a less credible group of people pretending to govern. This is godawful policy, bad for business, bad for consumers, and bad for the US.
If America wants to be great again, you can start by burying all these half-ass, dinosaur, politically driven nutcase theories about commerce and regulation. Greatness requires credibility, and that, you don’t have.

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Written By

Editor-at-Large based in Sydney, Australia.

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