Despite near-constant media frenzy that the freedom of the internet will dissolve in a bubbling mass of Trump Tweets and websites owned by white people as April 23rd arrives, it demonstrates not just a failure of research, but also a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Net Neutrality laws actually are.
It has been stated all too often by campaigners that today is the day that the FCC Net Neutrality laws will be repealed. But it’s not. In fact, this specific date was the earliest possible time that they could be repealed because it is the statutory 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. What few people realize is that this can’t actually happen until it is approved by the Office of Management & Budget.
That is the immediate panic dealt with, but what about the long-term impact of this “dangerous assault on internet freedom?”
Who Will be Affected?
There is a huge amount of disinformation in the media about the negative effects of the repeal; in reality, almost no one will even notice. The idea behind creating these laws was to limit the amount of bias an internet provider could have, either by selling/providing better speeds to different areas or by stopping big businesses from buying a faster service that poorer folk can’t afford.
The reason they are being repealed is that they don’t actually work, and in fact, they stifle investment and innovation in the tech sector; this leads to a poorer quality service for everyone.
Necessity is the mother of invention. When there is no motivation for producing cheaper, faster, and more widespread service, people don’t spend their profits on research and development. If the speed of the internet becomes “socialized” (as in everyone gets the same), it means that investment will stop flowing, thereby disrupting the natural process of market forces.
Identity politics is King (or Queen), and as such, suggestions that this repeal will most negatively impact black folk has been seized as a rallying call for those on the left who just love an excuse to shout down the “white patriarchy.” Again, this is not true. The flawed reasoning behind this ludicrous assertion is that because black people are considered as a “permanent underclass” by the left, they will never be able to compete in an “open market” for internet speeds against “evil capitalist companies (you know… like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, all those bastions of right-wing thought).”
But it is, as ever, the free market that drives innovation FOR ALL. When competition is allowed, money flows in that leads to cheaper prices, better technology, and more accessibility for everyone.
Facts Not Fiction
As of 2015, when Net Neutrality began under Obama, the U.S. placed 20th in the world ranking on internet speed. After masses of regulation, it is now only just in the top 10. Was this rather unimpressive increase due to ungainly regulation? Or was it due to adopting the research of other nations? Was it due to the fact that every other developed nation is sinking billions of dollars into private investment to make the fastest and most efficient product that can be bought and paid for by the maximum number of people?
America has poor quality internet because it is almost entirely monopoly controlled and it is the monopoly that the Net Neutrality laws favor. By cutting out a motivation for companies to innovate through restrictions on competition, there are no new market leaders coming through and challenging the old order. Even now, Latvia, Israel, Bulgaria, and Romania wipe the floor with U.S. speeds; Japan and Hong Kong are double what you have now!
When these illiberal laws are eventually wiped from the books, get yourself ready for innovation, new technology, and better, faster services.