The return of Net Neutrality

in LeoFinancelast year


I am a big advocate for net neutrality, and I believe a big injustice happened in June 2018 when Ajit Pai successfully undone regulations that ensured net neutrality.

What is net neutrality?

You have likely heard the term net neutrality but may not fully understand what it means.

The most important aspect of net neutrality is to force Internet service providers to treat all data equally. This means they cannot add additional fees to Netflix traffic or any would be competitor. This ensures ISPs are not able to act as toll operators collecting tolls from content producers effectively double billing them and consumers of that content.

A good example is Comcast who owns a significant monopoly of high speed Internet services in the US. They also provide streaming content directly competing with Netflix. Without net neutrality, Comcast has been able to collect an "arbitrary tax" to Netflix to ensure their content is able to reach their consumers without artificial slow downs. Netflix has already been forced to sign a secretive contract with Comcast to ensure their service is not throttled.

Companies like Netflix would need to negotiate and pay these mafia like fees with every ISP that decides they want to demand it. Netflix has no recourse or alternative that will maintain acceptable service levels to their customers.

That's just Netflix, what about Disney+, Hulu, HBOMax or even YouTube? Each of these services are at the mercy of Internet service providers who provide access to the "last hop" directly to consumers.

This allows companies like Comcast to charge multiple times for the same Internet service and data already purchased by all parties. All these fees get passed on to the consumer effectively raising prices.

Prior to the Trump Administration, there were protections in place to prevent this type of predatory business practices. On June 2018 the FCC was able to reclassify ISPs lifting this protection.

While customers may not directly see the effects of net neutrality, they are the ones paying for it.

The return of Net Neutrality

President Biden just released a new executive order urging the FCC to restore Net Neutrality and consumer protections. This includes protections to prevent the above situation as well as providing consumers with addition protections by forcing Internet providers to fully disclose fees, throttling, and data caps as well as storing power to local state governments to protect consumers.

The executive order specifically addresses these issues:

  • Prevent ISPs from making deals with landlords that limit tenants’ choices.
  • Revive the “Broadband Nutrition Label” and require providers to report prices and subscription rates to the FCC.
  • Limit excessive early termination fees.
  • Restore Net Neutrality rules undone by the prior administration.

You can read the official fact sheet here.

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While I like the concept of net neutrality in theory, I am suspicious of government intervention. Just because some bill with net neutrality in the title gets passed doesn't mean it will be a net positive. More competition is a better solution but of course that can be difficult to achieve.

 last year 

There are predatory laws in place to prevent competition.

For example, there is a law that you have to cover 98% of a town to provide service. This means you have to cover areas that have very little need for service. Companies like Comcast can get around these laws, but towns that want to provide their own service to their citizens or smaller ISPs have difficulty.

There are other laws and hurdles as well designed to protect larger companies like Comcast from any form of competition.

These larger companies have also work with each other to prevent overlap and raise their prices consistently.

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These big corporations buy corrupt politicians so they pass laws like these which basically give them a legal monopoly, and when a law that actually benefits the majority like Net Neutrality exists they try to do everything they can to get rid of it.

If the repubs had their way corporations would own everything and the only laws the government passed would only benefit corporations...

I share your same hesitation and distrust to solve this problem with bigger government solutions... but evolving how we human is always a tug-a-war and innovating better isn’t the easiest thing to do. Comcast has quite the moat around its business model by the sounds of it. I’m still learning about this so reading your comment helps me understand the topic more thoroughly. Thank you. 👍

Well, I hope that spread to other countries as well. I hate ISPs with the passion of a burning sun. I tried most of the ones available in my area and they all suck so I had to stick to the one that sucks the less.

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Oh man... not a win-win to be certain. Is it just me... or is the world becoming increasingly annoying the more centralized it becomes? 😑

Thank you for spreading awareness about the importance of net neutrality @themarkymark.

It’s amazing to me how many predatory practices have been taking place especially due to our over centralized institutions and infrastructures.

I hope that by raising awareness we will, collectively, begin to make the world a freer and better place. But we are likely going to have to fight/innovate/demand it. Censorship resistant platforms like Hive will become increasingly important as we evolve our human rights and make them future proof.



What do you think of the meshnet that theta is building with their edge nodes?
I see some big names partnering with them.

Net neutrality is like censorship of the internet where nothing will be free and its all will be controlled by ISP. This should not be encouraged at all.

I don't think that you understood what net neutrality is. It is the exact opposite of censorship.

Yes. Exactly. Or at least it is supposed to be. While it is essential that internet service providers judge content and websites available online in the same way, net neutrality is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges of the digital age.

Oh, that is a good one: Prevent ISPs from making deals with landlords that limit tenants’ choices.

I'm just horrified what people are actually contracting in order to make other people do something about it. Damn misanthropists.

does the executive order have any chance to change things or is it more symbolic?

 last year 

I believe it will likely be changed, the removal of net neutrality was very unpopular and the FCC cheated in their poll using dead people to vote millions of times to make it look like it was a popular opinion. Lots of corruption.

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would be great!

Internet speeds are faster now and the internet has consistently improved since the end of net neutrality. It is a cause with out any purpose other than to give people something to argue about. Canada has enacted very strict net neutrality laws, and their internet is the same as the US with almost the exact same speeds. It's been two years and it has only improved, and the internet was doing just fine before net neutrality, as well, if I remember correctly.

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Pai was such a piece of crap. He literally set us back years in terms of usage and development. It was such a joke. This is great news, but they need something that is permanent and can't be just as easily undone. The power needs to be taken away from these large companies and politicians need to stop supporting the telco lobbies. Hopefully these next four years can usher in a standard that sets precedent moving forward.

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This was interesting. I didn't like that everyone was touting Trump as the next saviour when he had effectively put in place the most predatory crypto taxes the world has ever seen in place (for Americans).

That being said I'm not a truster of any government. I do like net neutrality though!

net neutrality is dead. We will see more and more filters from providers. Only with proxy/vpn will be those sites available. I'm really sure about it.

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Thank you for sharing the importance of net neutrality.

I hope this will reduce extortions and make the world a better place

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I am a proponent for true net neutrality as well. I was not a supporter of some of the bills that used that in their name as when I read the details they were nothing of the sort. Congress loves to make bills with titles people would be insane not to vote for if they don't want to be destroyed by their constituents. Yet often you read those bills and you'd almost be insane to vote for them if you actually know what is in the bill.

Sadly the bills sent to Congress so far were anything but net neutrality despite having a nice title to make it seem otherwise.

Very good information

To play devil's advocate, why should high-bandwidth services like Netflix not cost extra, especially when the infrastructure is overburdened like where I live in the middle of nowhere? If the service is so expensive, why can that not spur competition like Starlink? It's easy to say, "let the government make regulations," but the result is always either corporate lobbyists pushing for regulatory capture, or bureaucratic morass preventing the emergence of competition. Just look at what happened when the government regulated the meatpacking industry. The appeal was to consumer safety, but the result was a literal cartel of megacorps with massive supply chain vulnerabilities when COVID hit, and small farmers are stuck with bureaucracy and massive costs.

I Can’t support bigger government involvement on this. I believe in long run the harm is worse with this. But regardless if I agree with ya which I do most times or if I disagree I always respect you and the work you do here🤟 Cheers 🍻

Your post has been manually reblogged and upvoted! Keep up the great work!