Net Neutrality, Part 1: Why The Uproar?

Posted on July 14th, 2017 in Net Neutrality

net neutrality history swg inc

Anyone who has been watching the news lately has probably heard about net neutrality. But with a lot of information floating around, you may not realize how the end of these rules can hurt the fixed wireless industry. In an effort to help you understand what could happen, SWG, Inc. will be writing a three-part series to explain net neutrality, how it affects our industry, and what will happen if these rules are abolished.

In our first part, we explain what net neutrality is and why it’s in danger.

The Four Principles of Net Neutrality

You may have heard of net neutrality but may not know the entire story. In a sentence, net neutrality keeps the internet free.

It all began in 2003 when the FCC had adopted the four principles as a way “to encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature” of the internet. These “four freedoms” stated that consumers are entitled to the following:

  • Access lawful content of their choice
  • Run applications and services of their choice
  • Connect to their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network
  • Have competition among network, application and content providers

Although these principles were never set as regulations, the FCC states these principles would be used in any policymaking. But many Silicon Valley companies like Google wanted true regulations to be put in place.

After Comcast Corp. had blocked customers from using BitTorrent’s software to download videos in 2007, the FCC had tried to order Comcast to stop blocking. Instead, the case went to court where the judge ruled in 2014 the FCC lacked the authority to enforce its four principles.

Net Neutrality Regulations Put in Place

After losing the court case, the FCC attempted to adopt regulations on net neutrality, prohibiting ISPs from blocking access to their customers. In response, Verizon Communications sued and the court sided with the telecommunications industry again.

True regulations were not put in place until 2015 when the FCC adopted regulations that prohibited broadband companies from blocking websites, slowing connection speeds, and charging for faster delivery of content.

But the telecommunications companies want self-regulation. And with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wanting to “fire up the weed whacker” to net neutrality regulations, these regulations are now in danger of being dismantled.

Is Net Neutrality Destroying Small ISPs?

One of the reasons the big ISPs say net neutrality should be dismantled is because it hurts competition. But do these regulations really hurt smaller ISPs?

According to an article from the Verge, many smaller ISPs say they haven’t had any issues. In fact, many of these ISPs say the net neutrality protects competition — more than 40 small ISPs had written a letter to the FCC requesting that net neutrality stays in place.

Currently, the FCC is in a public comment period for net neutrality where the public comment on the proposal to revoke the regulations. At least 2.1 million have commented, urging the FCC to rethink plans.

In part two of our three-part series, we will be discussing how net neutrality is currently affecting the telecommunications industry and why keeping these regulations benefits ISPs.

Posted in Net Neutrality

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