Why the Internet Will Remain Neutral and Open
June 11, 2018 is the day that the internet returns to the light-touch regulations that marked most of its history and gave rise to its tremendous growth. It was under this system that over $1 trillion in private capital was invested, leading to more than 90 percent of Americans getting access to fast internet. With lighter and less burdensome regulation of their business, ISPs are investing in better and faster networks. Very soon a majority of consumers will have 1Gbps speeds available.
What consumers will notice today, tomorrow, next month, next year or pick your date, is quite literally – nothing. Nothing, that is, other than the same high-speed internet access service that lets consumers decide what they read, what they say, what they create, what they watch, and what they listen to over the internet. This is because whether governed by one set of rules or another, an open Internet with the core principals of net neutrality at its foundation is baked into the internet experience. Consumers expect it and deserve it.
That is also why we are confident that despite a new round of outlandish claims and doomsday predictions from groups dedicated to stoking political controversy, consumers will be able to see for themselves that their internet service will keep working as always has and will keep getting better.
ISPs keep their customers happy by providing the best experience possible, not by forcing limitations through some Machiavellian throttling scheme that is hardly even possible to design, let alone enforce. The Washington Post gave predictions of such a parade of horribles Three Pinocchios. ISPs support the core principles of an open Internet strongly enough that they’ve endorsed Congressional action to codify them as law.
In the meantime, consumers are well protected if net neutrality violations occur before a law is written. The FTC, now empowered thanks to the end of Title II, is committed to protecting consumers from unfair predatory business practices like unfair blocking and throttling by ISPs. And the FCC is retaining strong transparency rules that require ISPs to disclose their commitments to fair and open practices for all to see and confirm. If a law has yet to be put in the books and ISPs suddenly decided to manipulate, disrupt, or unfairly impose internet tolls, the FTC can, and will, step in.
So let’s tune out the Chicken Little claims, and recognize today returns the internet to its rightful place as a lightly regulated open platform where innovation, disruption, and big ideas are free to rule the day.