For nearly the entire year
, I've been warning about the urgent threat to Net Neutrality posed by Donald Trump's appointed FCC chair, Ajit Pai, who routinely makes the mendacious argument that Net Neutrality is "bad for business" to justify eroding equal internet access.
The moment his threat could become reality has arrived.
Cecelia King at the New York Times: FCC Is Said to Plan Repeal of Net Neutrality Rules
The Federal Communications Commission is preparing a full repeal of net neutrality rules that require broadband providers to give consumers equal access to all content on the internet, putting more power in the hands of those companies to dictate people's online experiences.
Ajit Pai, the chairman of the F.C.C., plans to reveal a sweeping proposal to scrap the net neutrality rules on Tuesday, according to two people familiar with the plan, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details are not public. The rules, created during the Obama administration, prohibit broadband providers from blocking, slowing down, or charging more for the delivery of certain internet content. The proposal will be presented in a December meeting of F.C.C. commissioners and is expected to pass in a 3-to-2 vote along party lines.
A rollback of net neutrality regulations would represent a significant victory for broadband and telecom companies like AT&T and Comcast and would amount to a strike against consumers. When the rules were passed in 2015, they underlined the importance of high-speed internet to the lives of Americans and the need to more strongly regulate the communications service like a utility, as essential as electricity and the telephone.
But under a repeal, companies like AT&T and Comcast may be able to charge people higher fees to access certain websites and online services. The companies may also be able to prioritize their own services while disadvantaging websites run by rivals.
...In addition, Mr. Pai plans to reverse a decision from the Obama administration that declared broadband be treated like a utility, the people said. That classification had opened the door to many more regulations for broadband providers.
This is just dreadful news.
As I have previously noted
: "Net Neutrality is an access issue. Who has access to information, and what kinds of information. One of the most dangerous potential outcomes of subverting Net Neutrality is that media with the broadest potential audience — i.e. kyriarchy-upholding garbage, which makes money hand over fist — will be the most cheaply accessible, while specialized media — i.e. kyriarchy-challenging material, which struggles to turn a profit — will be the most expensive, since media producers invested in social justice don't tend to get rich from their work."
And as Shaker Ignatius Cheezburger noted
in the comments of that piece: "The other concern being that if the ISP happens to endorse or support certain political or cultural views as a matter of corporate policy, that ISP can now selectively filter certain content for priority delivery that is in keeping with their views and other content that runs contrary to those views for lower priority delivery, or no delivery at all. For example, NARAL or Planned Parenthood suddenly finds its alerts and updates getting bounced from all of its members within the ClearChannel family. Not good. Not good at all."
Consider the many ways that people access political and/or organizing information: Websites, apps, social media, streaming services. All of these could be subject to reduced accessibility if Net Neutrality is rescinded.
That also means, if you haven't figured it out yet, that there could be major disruptions to a community like this one. My ability to continue to deliver information to my readership could be easily throttled by any ISP who decides they don't like what I'm saying. Your ability to continue to access that information could be easily thwarted by providers charging you exorbitant access fees.
Progressive online writers and activists could find ourselves with no way to make a living anymore.
That's not a bug; that's a feature.MAKE SOME NOISE.
This is our last chance.