Net Neutrality Is Dead In The USA; Here Are 2 Ways It Can Affect India!
Lawmakers, influenced by the tremendous lobbying power of ISPs have decided to brutally murder Net Neutrality.
December 14th shall be a black day for Internet, all over the world.
Lawmakers, influenced by the tremendous lobbying power of ISPs such as Verizon, Comcast, AT&T among others have decided to brutally murder Net Neutrality, and things have changed at a rapid pace in the last 24 hours.
The Federal Communications Commission has voted to repeal the Net Neutrality laws formed in 2015, which means that businesses in US which provide Internet access to the common man can now throttle Internet speed, block few websites, apps as per their whims, and basically do anything and everything to make more money, using the Internet.
These new anti-neutrality laws were proposed by an Indian-American named Ajit Pai, who is a pro-Republican and close to President Trump, who has also expressed his desire to strangle Internet in the past.
Their wishes have been finally fulfilled.
Net Neutrality Killed In The USA
The voting was won by anti net-neutrality forces by a margin of 3-2, as Ait Pai said,
“We are helping consumers and promoting competition. Broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially to underserved areas.”
In the past 11 months, Ajit Pai has approved and supported several anti-consumer decisions such as removing cap on how a company can charge for providing Internet services, removed media ownership limits and blocked a low-cost broadband Internet plan which promised a revolution in the Internet space.
In short, as it is clearly evident, Mr. Pai has been bought off by the rich lobby of ISPs in the US, and this resulted in the brutal murder of Net Neutrality as we are witnessing today.
Mignon Clyburn, one of the Democratic commissioners who vigorously opposed this new law by FCC said,
“I dissent, because I am among the millions outraged. Outraged, because the F.C.C. pulls its own teeth, abdicating responsibility to protect the nation’s broadband consumers.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Republican Commissioners Brendan Carr and Michael O’Rielly voted in favor of the new anti net-neutrality order, while Democratic Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel voting against.
Various Internet startups and organizations have condemned this decision, as it has the power to destroy the free and fair nature of Internet as we know it. Now, a new startup will be required to pay to a company like Verizon to showcase their services, and this is against the very principles of Internet and free speech.
Netflix tweeted their disappointment:
We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement. This is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix stands w/ innovators, large & small, to oppose this misguided FCC order.
— Netflix US (@netflix) December 14, 2017
Steve Huffman, chief executive of Reddit, said,
“If we don’t have net neutrality protections that enforce tenets of fairness online, you give internet service providers the ability to choose winners and losers,”, adding, “This is not hyperbole.”
2 Ways This Can Affect India
- TRAI, which forms regulations and rules for the Indian telecom industry, has been following US while dictating their own net-neutrality logic and rules. So far, TRAI has done an exceptional job of protecting the interests of the common people, and stopping large telcos from taking over the control of Internet. However, now, as FCC in the US has decided to kill net neutrality and support ISPs in murdering the free and fair nature of Internet, things can change in India as well. After all, the very basic premise of Net Neutrality was drawn from the US in India, and when the source changes, then the destination also changes.
- Majority of cutting edge Internet products and technologies have come to India from the US, which includes Google, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Dropbox and more. Now, as the basic net neutrality rules in the US changes, these companies will also have to change or alter their basic routes of service deliveries, and it is here that things can change. For example, if Facebook (which has been lobbying for their Free Basics in India, an anti net neutrality plan) partners with AT&T for faster service of their apps in the US, then the same business model can be repeated in India as well, with say Airtel (which has also been lobbying for their anti net neutrality tactics in India). In short, opposition forces can now collaborate to take the anti net neutrality stand to countries outside US, which includes India as well.
So, What Next?
Net Neutrality activists haven’t accepted defeat, yet.
As per various Internet threads, forces supporting net neutrality are now huddling together, and deciding future course of action to protect the sanctity of the Internet.
For example, Congressional Resolution of Disapproval is a step which can be taken and used to overturn this FCC vote which killed net neutrality in the US. Under this, Congress members in the Senate will vote against the FCC decision, and if approved, it can be overturned.
Besides, this decision can be sued in the Apex court of US, and a new petition can be filed if thousands of net neutrality activists come together, and start a movement.
Discussions regarding future course of action is currently on, and hopefully, we will find a way to reverse this decision.
We will keep you updated.