The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed legislation enacting Net Neutrality on Feb. 26, meaning the Internet will take on a different role than in years past. Though the FCC refers to their new legislation as “Open Internet,” arguments regarding whether or not the policy actually promotes freedom have surrounded the policy. For years, cable companies were able to charge content providers for the use of a “fast lane.” Companies with high demand – like Netflix, for example – were often charged extra by an Internet provider – such as Comcast – to deliver their content to users faster than other companies were able.
Now, however, the FCC has said Internet providers are not allowed to do anything of that nature. Broadband providers are not able to block access to legal content on the Internet. Now, call me crazy, but I don’t think this is an entirely good development. I believe the Internet should be the most open place in existence. And because of that, I also think it’s extremely arrogant for the U.S. federal government to assign themselves the right to govern the Internet. The Internet is not unique to the United States. It’s not governed by America. As usual, the federal government has proven itself insatiable for power, developing a craving for any and all legislation possible.
In an ideal world, companies would not have to pay extra to Internet providers for faster speeds. But in an ideal world, a free marketplace would be encouraged. Net Neutrality, or “Open Internet” enable companies like Netflix to pay the same as any other website, rather than pay an inflated fee because they have an inordinate number of customers. While this is all fine and well, the Internet providers go completely unrecognized in this pathetic boondoggle. Comcast and Verizon have a business which they need to maintain and, so long as they are not engaging in any corrupt or unethical activities, they should be allowed to charge what they deem is a fair charge.
If the government applied the same principle to small businesses as they did to the Internet, there would be an outrage. A mom-and-pop grocer would never be forced to offer the same prices as Wal-Mart. Though the majority benefits from Net Neutrality, it has brought America yet another step closer to losing the freedom which our founders wanted us to have.