You’re mistaken if you think Net Neutrality in the U.S. – an open and free-flowing Internet – is a done deal.
The major Internet service providers (ISPs) – the major telecommunications corporations like Verizon, Comcast, AT&T and others – are fighting back vociferously and with an unrelenting (and heavily financed) effort to take complete control over the Internet in the U.S.
You will recall the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted by in February a major move to classify the Internet as a public utility and regulate the major ISPs just as it once did the major telephone companies (grandparents of today’s ISPs). The FCC ruling in effect prohibits the ISP corporations from charging extra for faster Internet speeds and prohibits them from throttling Internet service to customers when it benefits their bottom line. The ruling ensures a free flowing Internet just like similar regulations ensure open access to other public utilities like electricity and water.
But just as soon as the new FCC rule was formally published April 14 the ISP corporations, hiding behind trade groups for the most part, starting filing lawsuits aimed at destroying the rule and a free-flowing Internet.
And they’re not stopping with lawsuits.
They are doubling down with an easily bought U.S. Congress in at least two legislative offenses also aimed at overturning the FCC rule.
All this despite the fact the American public overwhelming supports Net Neutrality.
So far, according to the Washington Post, five lawsuits have been filed to strike the FCC rule.
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has filed one. So has the American Cable Association. The Wireless Association (also called CTIA) has filed one. AT&T has filed its own lawsuit, as has a small Texas cable company.
The Washington Post quoted CTIA CEO Meredith Atwell Baker calling Net Neutrality a “command-and-control regulatory regime,” in a laughable “sure, we are; so are you” kind of way.
But it’s not funny because the same U.S. District Court of Appeals in which the current crop of anti-Net Neutrality lawsuits have been filed ruled just last year the corporate ISPs have every right to charge customers more for higher Internet speeds – basically, do whatever they want with the Internet in America.
And BigComm’s friends in Congress are fighting back with heavy handed tactics.
U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) and 14 other Republican co-sponsors have introduced a Resolution of Disapproval of the FCC rule, which if adopted would by-pass most Congressional rules and, among other moves, allow the U.S. Senate to adopt the resolution with a simple majority vote (which Republicans now have). President Obama, who is on the record strongly supporting Net Neutrality, could veto the measure should it win approval.
But organizations like Fight for the Future and a long list of others, including major Internet conmpanies, continue the struggle to make sure the Internet in the U.S. remains regulated as a public utility, operated for the advancement of the greater good.
And in many ways, the battle for Net Neutrality is about so much more than just an open and free flowing Internet. It’s really a bigger battle between major corporations and the public domain and if the major corporations eventually win their victory could open the door to complete – and perhaps irreversible – oligarchical rule in the United States.