A big priority for progressives and, hence, the Biden administration is reinstatement of Obama-era net neutrality regulations. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will once again regulate internet service providers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1934, prohibiting broadband companies from blocking legal content, throttling content or, conversely, prioritizing content in a practice known as “paid prioritization.”
To that end, the Biden administration recently nominated acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel to serve for a full term as Chair of the FCC and Gigi Sohn to be added as a Commissioner, which would break the 2-2 partisan stalemate. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, those Democrats will provide the majority needed to implement Biden’s telecommunications policy agenda, and that could be bad news for consumers.
Net neutrality regulations were first put in place by the Obama Administration in 2015, despite the fact that none of the offending practices (blocking, throttling, prioritizing, etc.) were widespread problems for consumers at the time. The policy’s impact of restricting internet service provider flexibility and control over their own networks led, predictably, to a decline in private broadband investment in the years that followed. Consumers were “protected” from problems that didn’t exist but stuck with suboptimal broadband growth in a society developing an almost insatiable demand for connectivity and speed online.
This harmful regulatory environment spurred repeal of net neutrality policies during the Trump Administration, under the leadership of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in 2017. Outraged net neutrality advocates flooded the media with warnings that the rollback would “destroy the Internet” and put free speech online at risk. Of course, none of these dire predictions came true. Internet service providers aren’t blocking legal content and the edge providers, like Netflix and Google, who worried about being slowed down or having to pay for paid prioritization are doing just fine, thank you very much.
Read the full article at Inside Sources.