Today, finally, the fateful decision has been made at the zero kilometer of the Internet. The president of the Federal Communications Commission of the United States, Ajit Pai, announced a few minutes ago the approval of the plan that promotes the elimination of net neutrality with the repeal of the regulations established by the Obama administration. Broadband is no longer considered a basic service such as electricity or water supply.
The vote, as scheduled, has ended with three votes in favor and two against the proposed deregulation. The two commissioners of the Democratic Party have rejected the initiative, as they had already stated, while the three commissioners of the Republican Party have backed it. It has not been postponed as some claimed, New York Attorney General included, after verifying the manipulation of the public consultation through bots.
The vote has gone forward with three votes in favor and two against
Thanks to the so-called neutrality of the network , an egalitarian Internet was guaranteed, in a more or less basic way . Although the set of infrastructures that make it possible, from kilometers of optical fiber to satellites or submarine cables have an owner and this is usually private, this set of rules allowed to protect the network of those who can dominate it completely at will. As of today, the paradigm changes in the United States at the initiative of a president of the FCC, appointed by Donald Trump, who was a lawyer for the telecommunications company Verizon.
The consequences of the end of neutrality
The protest organized yesterday, Break the Internet, showed us in a very illustrative way how an intervened network could be, without a regulation that protects it. We could be accessing a certain portal, one of our preferences, and find that our service provider indicates that we have exceeded our allocated bandwidth for that web. Because yes, they will be able to decide what services they want to offer to the clients and how. They will even be able to block networks like BitTorrent, as it is believed will happen, because they have already tried.
Quotas could be established with maximum access to certain services
They could also, for example, block access to certain content. Or layer them so that to enjoy them we had to pay them an extra not included in the rate . It would not be a payment to the service itself, but to the operator himself because he decides what goes for his infrastructure, what makes the Internet reach homes, and what does not. In this case, you could be paying an extra for a payment service that is already paid.
The defense of Ajit Pai, the president of the FCC, is that “Internet service providers will have to be transparent about their practices, so that consumers can contract the service plan that best suits them”, but not It’s that simple. Most Americans, according to Boin Boing, only have one or two options to get a connection. Which in the end means that many will be subjected to the approach made by a certain operator without an alternative. In many other countries the same thing happens.
Although theoretically the consumer can choose, many will not have alternatives, especially if greater access to more services has to do with the economic amount
When there is no competition, power is on one side, although the Federal Trade Commission should be in charge of prosecuting companies if they consider that they have made agreements that harm consumers or competition. Something that remains to be seen and that does not convince those who advocate having neutrality regulated.
The story of terror could continue in many more ways with the freedom to deal with Internet traffic in different ways and without established criteria, creating a multi-speed network or a packet network.
By making a simile understandable, contracting a connection can be transformed into something similar to contracting cable or pay TV, but without open television. The only way to access the Internet will be paying, yes, as up until now, but according to the amount we pay and what the operators offer, we could access certain websites and services or not. If you used to pay for speed, now you could also be paying for the specific content.
The Internet could be marketed by service packages with different prices, in the style of television packages.
Another face of the end of neutrality is that the most powerful technology companies could pay service providers to access their respective platforms faster than access to the rest of the web. Accessing a large e-commerce site or a large social network might be easier than taking a look at an activist’s blog. It may even be that, when creating a website, the responsible person had to negotiate with each of the ISPs to allow their clients access, because they could restrict it.
These are some of the worst situations that we can face with the goal of neutrality, indeed, and surely little change at the beginning. But the reality is that, as commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel assured at the beginning of her speech prior to the vote, “the neutrality of the network is the freedom of the internet.” That freedom can disappear from today in the United States, affecting the services located there and used in the rest of the world, but not only.
The influence of the zero kilometer Internet, where everything was born, can drive operators from other parts of the world to pressure their respective governments in search of a similar regulation. In the European Union, for example, where in the past it was intended to end the neutrality of the network, the situation is sustained. Legislation was completed to protect it, although the door remained open for the zero-rating to be regulated individually by the member countries. We can only hope that the example does not cunda.