Net neutrality in the United States / Net neutrality should be repealed

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Position: Net neutrality should be repealed

This position addresses the topic Net neutrality in the United States.


For this position


Quotes-start.png Readers may now wonder why they are hearing claims that the Comcast customer service department will soon rule the internet. This line is a classic case of rent-seeking from internet companies like Netflix, which want to limit how much they have to pay to stream movies that suck up a lot of bandwidth. The real story is that, thanks to new leadership at the FCC, this week a few tech giants in Silicon Valley lost to American consumers who will benefit from more innovation and choice online. Quotes-end.png
From You Are Free to Surf About the Web, by The Wall Street Journal editorial board (The Wall Street Journal, November 23, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png If Congress wants net neutrality, then Congress can pass a law and let the FCC enforce it. It isn't up to the FCC to create sweeping new policy on its own. That kind of lawlessness ran rampant in the Obama administration, and the Trump administration is undertaking important work in undoing it, from the FCC to the EPA. Quotes-end.png
From Net Neutrality: Let Congress Decide if It’s Needed, by National Review editorial board (National Review, November 22, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png In fact, one economic study filed with the FCC concluded that broadband investment has decreased $35 billion in each of the last two years since the issuance of the 2015 net neutrality order. Reclassifying ISPs as a highly regulated utility was a nuclear option, stifling private investment. Quotes-end.png
From Net neutrality editorial attempted to rewrite history, by David Osmek (Star Tribune, December 22, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png Net neutrality supporters argue that without the regulations internet companies will be able to throttle websites at their discretion and charge more for certain content. Streaming videos from sites like Netflix and YouTube, for example, use much more bandwidth than text only. But that’s not happening, and at the end of day it’s about who is going to charge the customer. Is Netflix going to charge you more to get content up faster or will it be Comcast charging more to ensure your Netflix service is uninterrupted? The current regulatory structure is best suited to allow market forces, not the government, to make that decision. Quotes-end.png
From Roll back net neutrality, by The Detroit News editorial board (The Detroit News, December 2, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png I am concerned about one potential threat. In today's deeply divided politics, ISPs will be moved by one outrage campaign or another to block "offensive" websites. The repeal of the 2015 regulation leaves that to their discretion. But then the regulation didn't save The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi resource, from being booted out by one provider after another earlier this year. I'm not sure the FCC would have intervened on behalf of fringe sites even under Wheeler. Quotes-end.png
From Don't Be Afraid of the Net Neutrality Repeal, by Leonid Bershidsky (Bloomberg View, December 15, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png For all these reasons Pai is right to revisit rules that were passed under and with the support of President Barack Obama. We just wish he’d start the process over to ensure there is lasting integrity in the final product the commission produces, so internet service providers won’t find themselves under yet another regulatory regime in three years. Quotes-end.png
From FCC should slow down repeal of burdensome net neutrality rules, by The Denver Post editorial board (The Denver Post, December 13, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png Bizarrely, these net neutrality alarmists are demanding that Trump maintain control of the internet, planting his administration firmly between citizens and whatever content they want to view or create. Even if Democrats were running the show in D.C., how could federal meddling improve the internet? Do they want the web run by the bureaucrats who spent $2 billion to build a health-care website that didn't work? Do they want our privacy assured by those behind the NSA? Quotes-end.png
From Net neutrality sounds nice, but we'd be better off without it, by Jon Gabriel (The Arizona Republic, December 1, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png Digital technology is still a new, evolving industry, more like robotics or bitcoins than water service. Think about driverless vehicles, wearable health monitors and other internet-abled innovations coming to fruition. The emphasis needs to be on encouraging scientific discovery and commercial discovery, while incorporating safeguards against exploitation. Quotes-end.png
From Why deregulating internet service makes sense, by Chicago Tribune editorial board (Chicago Tribune, December 1, 2017) (view)

Against this position


Quotes-start.png After college, I launched my company, Datto, from the basement of my father's office. I chose to stay in Wilton in part because it had affordable, fast internet. Without this access, I would've had to pay a rate that would have all but killed the company before it began. Quotes-end.png
From Open Internet Access, Net Neutrality, Vital For Businesses, by Austin McChord (The Hartford Courant, November 5, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png Keep in mind that ISPs already use public rights of way on the ground and that the coming 5G high-speed wireless technology will require multitudes of wireless antennas on public rights of way and will broadcast over parts of the public airwaves. And yet, the FCC chairman’s plan would allow ISPs to exploit this public good to throttle content, to charge Netflix or Amazon or Facebook for a faster on-ramp to the information superhighway or potentially block them altogether. Worse, they could favor those who could easily pay a king’s ransom — Facebook, to name one — over those who couldn’t, perhaps a social media start-up or a promising small business. Quotes-end.png
From FCC should not abandon net neutrality, by Tampa Bay Times editorial board (Tampa Bay Times, November 27, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png Last week, the Federal Communications Commission announced it was planning a sweeping rollback of net neutrality, allowing corporations to decide what content is available online while pricing most citizens out of equal access to information. For nearly a year, America has stood at the crossroads of a damaged democracy and a burgeoning autocracy. If net neutrality is destroyed, we will cross firmly into the latter, and our return is unlikely. Quotes-end.png
From Gutting net neutrality is a death knell for the resistance, by Sarah Kendzior (The Globe and Mail, November 26, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png If Pai has his way, ISPs will be reclassified as information services instead of highly-regulated utilities, such as telephone or electric. In practice, they'll charge higher fees for faster delivery of content from websites such as Netflix - because video requires more bandwidth - and that cost will be passed along to the customer. Or ISPs can choose winners and losers on a whim: Verizon, for example, would favor Yahoo (which it owns) over Google, and subject Google to a toll hike to drive in the fast lane. Quotes-end.png
From Flushing net neutrality: A GOP scam that rips off consumers, by The Star-Ledger editorial board (The Star-Ledger, November 26, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png In this new world, giants like Amazon, Facebook and Netflix might end having to pay broadband providers for access to eyeballs. Smaller players have no such luxury, and they're scared. E-commerce depends on speedy, stable access. Increasing costs and adding a dollop of uncertainty could end up representing death by a thousand cuts for untold numbers of existing businesses. Quotes-end.png
From Net neutrality is worth preserving, by The Globe and Mail editorial board (The Globe and Mail, November 23, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png The existing rules are essential in ensuring that the small but powerful group of companies that function as internet gatekeepers do not prioritize, throttle, block or discriminate against any information delivered by their networks. The rules have broad support; millions of Americans set records for public participation on this issue. Quotes-end.png
From Gutting net neutrality rules is a giant step backward, by The Seattle Times editorial board (The Seattle Times, November 22, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png Wiping out net neutrality would have big consequences. Without it, your broadband provider could carve internet access into fast and slow lanes, favoring the traffic of online platforms that have made special payments and consigning all others to a bumpy road. Your provider would have the power to choose which voices online to amplify and which to censor. The move could affect everything online, including the connections we make and the communities we create. Quotes-end.png
From I'm on the FCC. Please stop us from killing net neutrality, by Jessica Rosenworcel (Los Angeles Times, November 22, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png Pai seems particularly keen on paid prioritization, arguing that it could lead to new services — for example, online health monitoring — while generating revenue that could lower the price of broadband access. But it’s naive at best to expect broadband providers that face little or no competition to lower prices as revenue goes up. And the current rules don’t block the sort of data prioritization that sensitive health services might need — they simply prohibit broadband providers from charging fees in exchange for bestowing a competitive advantage. Quotes-end.png
From The FCC plans to spray, squash and flush its net neutrality rules down the toilet for good measure, by Los Angeles Times editorial board (Los Angeles Times, November 22, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png In the face of the obvious anti-competitive behavior that ending net neutrality could unleash, proponents of this idea counter, incredibly, that this is merely a free-market approach. That's a deceit. As internet users in upstate New York well know, ISPs are virtual monopolies in most markets. And as we're seeing with the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner, the impetus is toward even more consolidation and less competition. Quotes-end.png
From Leave net neutrality alone, by Times Union editorial board (Times Union, November 21, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png FCC chairman Ajit Pai says he expects the ISPs to act responsibly, so regulations shouldn't be imposed on them because of hypothetical risks of abuse. Spoiler alert: Pai is a former Verizon attorney, and his perspective on this issue is that of a disingenuous corporate lackey with a short memory. Before the current rules were imposed, Comcast deliberately slammed the brakes on Netflix's streaming speed in 2013, leading to an exodus of customers until the movie website paid "an arbitrary tax," as the Netflix CEO called it. Quotes-end.png
From Net neutrality under attack by corporate hacks, by The Star-Ledger editorial board (The Star-Ledger, May 28, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png Without net neutrality rules, large corporate interests could also choke off conversations or content they don't like while speeding up the content they do. Imagine what would happen to the House of Independents if their customers had to pay a premium anytime they wanted to discover new music or if the artists had to pay more to get their videos to work. They would be at a steep disadvantage. Quotes-end.png
From Why gutting net neutrality protections is bad for N.J., by Frank Pallone Jr. (The Star-Ledger, December 7, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png Mr. Pai says net neutrality rules put in place by the F.C.C. in 2015 have discouraged broadband companies from investing in the business. But he bases that on cherry-picked statistics. In fact, a comprehensive analysis of publicly traded internet service providers by Free Press, a public interest group, found that investment was up about 5 percent since those rules were enacted. Quotes-end.png
From The F.C.C. Wants to Let Telecoms Cash In on the Internet, by The New York Times editorial board (The New York Times, December 3, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png So the fight for net neutrality must be seen in the context of an even bigger debate. Is the internet something to be ruled over by all-mighty private companies with little oversight from the state? Or do we recognise it as too fundamental to our security, to the way we communicate, and to our economy, to leave it vulnerable to the cowboy tactics so often deployed when the private sector spots an unregulated monopoly? Quotes-end.png
From The Observer view on net neutrality, by The Observer editorial board (The Observer, December 17, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png The even greater danger is that some major content producers – and the Disney-Fox combination is an interesting example of such a beast – decides that the time has come to take control over a cable company or other internet service provider. The temptation to favour Disney-Fox content over that of rivals would prove irresistible. Quotes-end.png
From The repeal of net neutrality rules threatens democracy, by The Independent editorial board (The Independent, December 15, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png Without net neutrality, ISPs have an incentive to create a pay-to-play world, where content providers can pay to have their sites connect to users at higher speeds than their competitors. In that world, we would probably all still be using Myspace, because Mark Zuckerberg couldn’t afford to pay the fees to speed up access to his dorm-room startup. Quotes-end.png
From Without net neutrality, the internet will be sold to the highest bidder, by Nathan White (The Independent, December 15, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png [ISPs] could even choke off free speech for political reasons. That’s what already happens in countries like China, where the government makes sure citizens can easily access approved sites while making it painfully slow or even impossible to get information from sites deemed unreliable or hostile. Quotes-end.png
From Scrapping ‘net neutrality’ is a threat to the free flow of information, by Toronto Star editorial board (Toronto Star, December 14, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png This week, Republican Sen. John Thune broke with the deafening silence his party has had on the issue and asked that people on “both sides of the aisle” work with him on a legislative solution. “Congressional action is the only way to solve the endless back and forth on net neutrality rules that we’ve seen over the past several years,” he said. “If my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and those who claim to support net neutrality rules want to enshrine protections for consumers with the backing of the law, I call on you today to join me in discussing legislation that would do just that.” Quotes-end.png
From Save us, Congress. You’re now net neutrality’s only hope, by The Sacramento Bee editorial board (The Sacramento Bee, December 14, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png Under Pai’s plan, ISPs can charge web companies for “fast lanes,” holding those who can pay ransom for better service and leaving little guys who can’t pay in the dust. Meanwhile, none of that money will be passed on to consumers in the form of lower rates. If anything, your rates are likely to increase. Quotes-end.png
From Net neutrality repeal means you're going to hate your cable company even more, by Anna G. Eshoo (USA Today, December 12, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png In addition to exacting economic tolls on internet communications, the FCC’s proposal increases risks to democracy. Congressional hearings conducted in October examined more than 3,000 ads Russian operatives bought on Facebook and other social media and advertising platforms during the 2016 election season. Paid priority weaponizes the ability to manipulate U.S. public opinion through the internet by accelerating some messages while others languish. Quotes-end.png
From Net neutrality safeguards democracy, the economy and national security, by Catherine J.K. Sandoval (San Jose Mercury News, December 12, 2017) (view)
Quotes-start.png Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and other internet pioneers have asked that the FCC’s board vote, scheduled for Thursday, be canceled. They have called Pai’s plan “rushed and technically incorrect” and an “imminent threat to the internet we worked so hard to create.” More than 200 businesses and civic organizations across Europe have registered their opposition, warning that ending net neutrality could undermine privacy, free speech and competition on the internet and have global repercussions because of U.S. dominance online. Quotes-end.png
From Keep the internet fair and open to all, by Star Tribune editorial board (Star Tribune, December 12, 2017) (view)

Mixed on this position


Quotes-start.png And there has to be a way to minimize the ongoing legal challenges and avoid a flip-flopping of rules every time an administration changes. Perhaps repealing the utility designation to allow for cutting-edge development could be paired with a federal law that protects net neutrality more specifically. That could satisfy the concerns of both sides. Quotes-end.png
From A way forward for net neutrality, by Newsday editorial board (Newsday, December 12, 2017) (view)