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If You Can Read This, Ending Net Neutrality Did Not Break the Internet

internet keyboard computerThere has not been this much hysteria over a Netpocalypse since Y2K, which failed to break the Internet.

18 years ago, media publications worried feverishly for months on end that financial and other institutions would fail to make the transition from the 20th to the 21st centuries when the year 2000 had to be taken into account. According to the mass hysteria, all the computers would think the year was 1900. But, it never happened. Y2K was a bust, fake news if you will.

Enter the current worries over the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ending the net neutrality rules that treated broadband as a common carrier under Title II of the Communication Act.

It will be the end of the Internet as we know it. Your Netflix and other video streaming programming will be interrupted. Content will be suppressed. Aja Romano on Vox.com claims, “Now that the FCC has repealed Title II classification for [Internet Service Providers] ISPs, the ISPs will essentially be unregulated.”

But not surprisingly, the Internet — which worked before net neutrality — still works after the regulation has been eliminated. So do all of the video streaming providers, Netflix, Hulu and so forth. No service disruption whatsoever. And there won’t be one.

Nor are there any allegations of content being blocked so far.

Oh, and it’s still being regulated. Many net neutrality proponents purported it would stop certain anticompetitive types of business practices that are basically already illegal under antitrust law.

So, what was all the fuss about, then?

If a broadband provider tries to throttle one streaming service to entice customers into its own streaming service, for example, depending on the facts, the streamer might have an available legal remedy at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which was established in 1914, more than a century ago and decades before there was any Internet.

In other words, the things net neutrality was supposed to stop were already illegal. You don’t need to declare something a public utility to keep it from being anticompetitive.

In fact, because of the FCC’s Title II classification of broadband, the FTC was barred from bringing suits protecting consumers from unfair or illegal practices under Title I. As a result, the FTC supported ending the FCC Internet regulation in Congressional testimony in November.  According to an agency press release on the testimony, “the FTC has jurisdiction to protect consumers and maintain competition in most sectors of the economy but does not have authority over common carrier activities. In light of this, the FCC’s 2015 reclassification decision resulted in the FTC losing jurisdiction over the provision of Internet access service.”

But, the agency said it would be ready to step back into this arena, according to the release: “the FTC has expertise in the antitrust and consumer protection issues raised by net neutrality concerns. In 2007, the FTC authorized staff to issue a report examining broadband Internet connectivity in general and network neutrality in particular. The 2007 FTC report also discussed discrimination, blocking, vertical integration, and data prioritization practices; examined the then-current and likely future state of broadband competition; analyzed Internet service provider practices under antitrust and consumer protection laws; reviewed proposed net neutrality solutions; and suggested guiding principles.”

Upon ending net neutrality, FTC acting commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen issued a statement praising the move, saying, “The FCC’s action today restored the FTC’s ability to protect consumers and competition throughout the Internet ecosystem. The FTC is ready to resume its role as the cop on the broadband beat, where it has vigorously protected the privacy and security of consumer data and challenged broadband providers who failed to live up to their promises to consumers. In addition, the FCC’s new transparency rules provide additional tools to help ensure that consumers get what they expect from their broadband providers, who will be required to disclose their traffic management practices.”

Got that? So, when you go to purchase Internet service, the ISPs will be required to disclose how they prioritize Internet traffic. If they don’t, or if those statements are inaccurate, then they’ll be subject to regulation.

Specifically, according to the new FTC-FCC Memorandum of Understanding, “Consistent with its jurisdiction, the FTC will investigate and take enforcement action as appropriate against Internet service providers for unfair, deceptive, or otherwise unlawful acts or practices, including but not limited to, actions pertaining to the accuracy of the disclosures such providers make pursuant to the Internet Freedom Order’s requirements, as well as their marketing, advertising, and promotional activities.”

Therefore, broadband is still being regulated, contrary to claims, just by a different agency, the same agency that was regulating it prior to the 2015 FCC power grab.

Almost nothing we’ve been told about net neutrality and ending is true.

So, if the Internet is and has always been covered under antitrust and specifically is now under FTC jurisdiction once again, which can otherwise deal with anticompetitive activities, then why was FCC regulation ever needed or wanted in the first place?

Perhaps it was something else in the Title II of the Communications Act that compelled FCC to claim oversight, such as potential downstream regulating of the rates that are charged? Whatever the motive, suffice to say that just because the FCC will no longer be regulating broadband does not absolve broadband providers from having to comply with antitrust law and FTC regulation.

If you can read this article, then ending net neutrality did not break the Internet.

 

From - NetRightDaily - by Robert Romano

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Jan Morrow

Grateful that AMAC publishes articles that enlighten and expose the fake news. We need to spread the word to others to join AMAC.

Rand

Frankly, I welcome any deregulation of any industry. Anything the govt attempts to control eventually gets ruined by the direct or unintended consequences of their actions. I can remember a time when people took personal responsibility for things that happened to them or others rather than run crying to the govt for protection from real or imagined evils and problems. You took responsibility for your driving rather than relying on seatbelt, airbag, and traffic regulations to keep you “safe”. If you were concerned about the safety of an item, you referred to private watchdog groups like Underwriters Laboratory or Consumer Reports to report problems or get reports on potential problems with a product. You didn’t buy products unless they had certification labels from voluntary organizations. If a business was acting in an unethical manner, you called them on it, stopped patronizing their business, let others know about their practices, or… Read more »

Wayne D. Peterkin

The argument that ending “net neutrality” will destroy the Internet is suggesting that the internet was already on its last legs before the Obama admin’s left-wing FCC implemented net neutrality, and obviously that was not true. Those who favor massive government intrusion and regulation of everyday life support things like net neutrality, those of us who believe in American freedoms do not. I’m glad it was repealed and any issues that may arise will be dealt with then.

SARGE

I’m glad I don’t know -hit from shinola!!!

Carol L. Baril

Thanks for clarifying all this net neutrality “sky is falling” hysteria! But as for Y2K, it wasn’t fake news! It was a superb job of all the tech folks who updated all the necessary software to handle the century going from 19 to 20! I work in software and any application that dealt with money and dates such as interest charges or distribution calculations, etc. would have been riddled with errors! Those systems that work on a clock only and have no concern for the actual date would have been fine since our clocks still run on 24 hour cycles! The computer software industry did a great job of getting all dates to handle the century change to 20 which seemed to make the news broadcasters unhappy since no catastophic problems happened! Unfortunetly, no thanks was ever bestowed on the computer programming industry for their great job keeping everyones accounts… Read more »

Dennis Ruth

Two items worthy of observation. 1) As a participant in the survival of many networked systems of the Y2K transition, I note that the author of the article confused the main issue: a matter of software coding practices vice one of policy issues. Many people planned and worked diligently to find and correct accepted, but poor, coding practices that would have caused issues in the transition from 1999 to 2000. It was about the number of digits used in the year and how that number was interpreted by associated code (software), not policy and not when the century changed. 2) The FCC was not a left-wing organization, rather the Obama appointed personnel that were in leadership positions espoused left-oriented control positions. Due to the manner in which the FCC was set up, they were able to rule by fiat. The current Chairman is using the same flawed set up to… Read more »

John Degges

Those who scream for “control”are definitely out of their gourds.

By the way, the last year of the twentieth century was 2000, not 1999. The first year of the Christian era was (according to the original reckoning thereof) was the year 1; there was no year 0. Thus, to complete 20 centuries, the last year must be the year 2000.
And, if you use A.D. in conjunction with the year number, place the “A.D.” before the number of the year, for that is the abbreviation of the Latin expression “Anno Domini,” which means “in the year of our Lord.” Placing it after the number of the year does not make sense.

John Connaughton

Whether you are for or against net-neutrality, this article is a bit disingenuous in saying that the rule has not adversely affected the internet. Because the FCC just voted at the time of this article and the text of their order was just released this first work week in 2018. If it does adversely affect the internet and people’s experience with their providers, it will most certainly happen in stages and some period of time after the changes have been put into effect. Time for the ISP’s to digest this, and begin making changes. So to say “everything is still fine” hours after the vote is very misleading.

Hank

I got a message on my screen today that said “Adobe Acrobat does not allow connection to: http://www.heritage.org” [The Heritage Foundation]. Is that the kind of thing this article implies?

John Degges

Quite interesting; the screamers for “control” are out of their gourds.

By the way, the last year of the 20th century was the two thousandth year of the century, (2000), not 1999. The first yea of our current reckoning was (according to the original reckoning of the Christian era) the year 1; there was no year 0. The first year of the 21st century was 2001 (2000 years + 1 year).