Net neutrality is very important for cord cutters who want to be able to stream content. In fact, even if you’re just a gamer that games more than they watch television, the repercussions of repealing net neutrality can have a lasting impact on your wallet.
A lot of Internet users do not understand net neutrality, and many of these individuals think that it has nothing to do with them. But this would be entirely wrong. Net neutrality is important because it allows the Internet to be created equal.
Without these laws in place, Internet service providers (ISPs) can discriminate against certain forms of traffic and websites.
For example, Netflix accounts for 15% of the world’s Internet traffic. The company does provide content servers for their content, but ISPs are dying to charge more for users that choose to use Netflix’s platform.
When this happens, ISPs can choose to control the traffic to the service by:
If you choose to binge watch a show this weekend, without net neutrality in place, your ISP would be allowed to charge you more money.
This goes beyond Netflix, and can change the speed or block:
You already know that the ISP you use is trying to exploit you for as much money as possible, and in the United States, many cable companies also own the ISPs. If you choose to stream content, it’s possible that the ISP will charge more in an effort to force you back to cable television.
This is a major issue for cord cutters and anyone that uses the Internet.
Go back to 2017, and you’ll find that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to repeal Net Neutrality. A big legal battle followed, and now we’re seeing that the battle has made its way through the federal appeals court.
The appeals court ruled in favor of the FCC, so this means that on a federal level, the net neutrality rules that we know and love are gone.
But there’s one key point in the ruling that is a major win for anyone who uses the Internet. The Federal Appeals court ruled that blocking states from implementing their own net neutrality rules is illegal.
The repeal order must be updated, in accordance with the order from the FCC, so that states will be permitted to implement their own laws for net neutrality. The FCC must also revise the appeal and consider:
Republican lawmakers decided to repeal the Obama net neutrality rules in 2017 due to lobbying. The law considered major ISPs, such as Comcast and Verizon, common carriers that were under tougher regulations and oversight.
The outcry from the telecommunications industry resulted in Republicans taking up the matter in 2017 after a failed attempt in 2015.
While the FCC is calling the current ruling a major win, states will be allowed to implement their own rules which ISPs will have to navigate as a result. There is still the possibility for states to put net neutrality rules in place that protect users.
California is one such state that has implemented state laws for net neutrality. The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state. The lawsuit was paused until the recent repeal was completed, and it’s expected that the lawsuit will now be absolved because states are allowed to implement their own laws, according to the federal courts.
We’ve been fed a lot of lies about net neutrality being “bad.” Consumers are always told that something is bad so that they support repealing laws that actually harm them. The FCC had a core justification for killing net neutrality, claiming that the law actually impacted broadband investment.
But the biggest study on the topic has just been released, and the core justification is invalid.
Surprise! I am still having to deal with poor streaming quality even though I pay for Internet speeds that can more than support 4K quality streaming. I am also capped on how much I can stream, so I rely heavily on my TV Fox antenna for watching television and movies.
The study looked at 8,577 companies and 270+ telecom providers to find that net neutrality did not impact investment in the industry.
There was not even a casual impact on investment.
Investments in the industry remained steady, but telecoms claimed that the new rules demolished investment in the industry. The FCC claimed that for the two years after net neutrality went into place, between 2015 and 2017, investment in the sector declined.
The FCC took the data provided by big telecoms and reiterated that investment in the industry was impacted despite earning reports showing no signs of investments being impacted at all.
The study from George Washington University looked at the earning reports from all of the 8,577 companies for the period between Q1 2009 and Q3 2018. Since net neutrality had no meaningful impact on investment, it’s safe to say that the current repeal will not have a positive impact on your Internet.
ISPs may charge you more money for accessing your streaming services in an effort to pad their bottom line, but otherwise, you’re not going to notice any difference in your service in the short-term.
Investments will remain the same, and ISPs will stay awash in cash while we’re stuck with issues with streaming and speeds that are lower than advertised. Free Press, a consumer group, actually suggests that ISPs spent more money on their broadband networks when net neutrality was passed than prior to net neutrality.
There have also been a lot of companies that refuse to repair and upgrade their DSL lines because they see more profits in wireless than they do Internet.
If you live in the United States, you may want to consider contacting your state representatives to push your state to implement their own net neutrality rules so that you, the consumer, are protected from overreaching ISPs.