On November 20th, the new FCC rules for net neutrality go into effect. As you may know, net neutrality is that condition of regulation that prevents Internet service providers (ISPs) from throttling or blocking any type of traffic or content. It specifically minimizes the ability of the ISPs to manage their own systems. While that seems like a good thing to heavy Internet users, the rules really put the handcuffs on the ISPs. It does not shut them down but it really does not let the ISPs do business as usual to provide good service but at the same time try to manage capital expenses, employment and support to make a profit. Besides what ISP really wants stop or slow traffic anyway if it doesn’t have to for good reason? Duh…..
So after years of discussion, numerous law suits (that the government threw out) and Congressional consideration, we will now have net neutrality regulation where virtually no regulation existed before. Overall such rules are not truly necessary as we have had practically 100% net neutrality without regulation. There were very few instances where ISPs had to control their data load and when they did it was for a good reason. ISPs want to carry all heavy traffic to make money. Sometimes their systems are just not up to it so they have to manage the data flow within reason to avoid ticking off subscribers. I suppose the new rules are for future use where unsuspected problems may arise. As the Internet connections grow and get faster, this whole issue becomes less of a problem but for now, the flow of video over the Internet has almost overwhelmed some systems. ISPs are keeping up but just barely in some cases, especially in the wireless networks.
The FCC approved the new net neutrality rules late last year by a 3 to 2 vote, along party lines. Congress tried to overthrow it earlier this month. The House voted to kill the rules but the Senate defeated it 52 to 46. So, the government now gets control.
Luckily, I doubt we will see much in the way of Internet traffic changes as a result of the new rules, at least for now. We will have to wait and see what the Feds decide they want to control. It is a scary prospect as these rules open the door to many unintended consequences as most new laws do. Net neutrality sounds so good and fair but any time you make new laws about controlling something that affects all of us, the potential abuse is there. You may not see it right away but I fear future backlash.
All of you who supported net neutrality can celebrate now. But like most U.S. citizens, you probably based your decision on minimal input rather than solid understanding of what you were supporting. All new laws are promoted as being good for us. What else? Like ObamaCare. But do you REALLY know what that law implies? Most don’t. Who has ever fully read that law? So it is with net neutrality.
To see details what you supported, go to http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-10-201A1.pdf . Nearly 200 pages of fun guidelines for all.
Read it and weep.