Net Neutrality: Media Overboard!


By: R. Scott Raynovich

The Internet is dead! Long live the Internet! This week, a historic vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Net Neutrality could possibly bring about the end of civilization.

Or at least, it may slow down your Netflix binge-watching.

The FCC voted to take away the law passed on 2015 based on a law from 1934. This was allegedly put in place to ensure Net Neutrality -- the guarantee that all Internet traffic is treated equally by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Or it wasn't.

The concept of Net Neutrality sounds great. Like I've said before -- it's like Free Food! But before we go overboard -- as many media outlets have -- let's remember there was really no "Net Neutrality" law on the book for the 20 years during the major development of the Internet (1995-2015). Think about it. Net Neutrality was "passed" in 2015. Did it feel like it "passed" to you? Did you notice anything? Was the Internet better or worse after this? Before this? I just haven't seen any data proving the case either way. My broadband has been virtually the same for 10 years.

I am not like most people -- I'm not smart enough to know the answer.

I do know that the FCC rarely has the answer. It doesn't help the case that the FCC process was a complete sham.

Right now I'm agnostic and constructive on this issue but thinking there has to be a better solution than either the FCC solution or the removal of the FCC solution -- it's very complicated and involves a lot of technical issues about Internet peering. My latest thinking is we need a broader look at Internet broadband regulation. It shouldn't reside with the FCC and a law that has been on the books from the 1930s. But there should be rules. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) might be a good place to start.

Some of the media coverage on Net Neutrality, which is filling up the Internet and your non-neutral broadband pipes as we speak: