Back in January, I talked about then-recently-appointed FCC chairman Ajit Pai and how he had spent a good chunk of his career prior to 2017 lobbying to de-regulate the internet. Once he came into a position of governmental power, he now has the authority to completely undo the net neutrality that we here in the United States currently enjoy.
Net neutrality, as you’ll recall, is the idea that everything that’s freely available online should be equally available. Originally it came up as a point of discussion because Comcast was found to be throttling some users’ internet speeds. They were, in effect, saying that they could judge the quality of content you were accessing and change your speed accordingly. Verizon was found to be “testing” this earlier this year as well. With service providers were allowed to throttle your speed based on the content you were accessing, they could then charge both you and the content provider extra to avoid the slowdowns.
In May, Pai introduced a proposal that would throw current net neutrality rules to the wind. It’s been up for public comment under the deliberately misleading name “Restoring Internet Freedom.” Pai has argued that net neutrality is hampering internet providers’ ability to upgrade their networks; however, this is patently false as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon have all publicly noted on their investment calls that they have been in fact spending more and more to improve their networks since net neutrality rules were first passed.
Pai’s intentionally disingenuous stance will only benefit the pockets of large corporations and their board members. For both creators and readers of webcomics, it will most assuredly result in slower connection speeds and more money out of your and their pockets. There is nothing good that will come of this for anyone but the richest 1% of Americans.
Today, August 29, is the last day for people to file comments. It has accumulated over 21 million comments so far (I haven’t read them all, but I have to believe the vast majority of them are against Pai’s proposal) but in light of all the other truly horrible decisions coming out of this White House, this could slip through without much debate. I urge everyone to express your animosity towards Proceeding #17-108. This is literally the future of the internet we’re talking about here, and it can’t be understated how important this could be going forward.