It’s hard to imagine that one of the largest countries in the world and sole superpower could be so far behind in terms in Internet implementation. This is especially troubling when you take into consideration that the nation was one of the first to pioneer this new form of communication. In a 3-2 vote, the FCC has ruled in the favor of the community.
Reclassification under title II is an ongoing battle that have caused for some concern amongst critics and lobbyists alike. Title II reclassification classifies the Internet as a utility much in the way of your telephone is. Champions for net neutrality fight for an open internet, for things to remain as they are without fast lines. One of the biggest misconceptions is that net neutrality is for government controlled internet, this is not the case.
In a 5 page document online, the FCC outlines their stance on adopting strong, sustainable rules to protect the Internet. The rules of note are no blocking, no throttling and no paid prioritization. ISPs are not allowed to interrupt the service that you paid for, something angry customers are familiar with when their perfectly stable connection starts to resemble something from the dial-up era. Asides from reclassification, the red tape has been cut which prohibited states from starting up their own municipal broadband to compete with the same giants that serviced their region.
What does this mean? It means that municipalities are no longer bound by state laws, if their state had such ruling, in which the community could start up their own broadband service to compete with the big telecoms. For years, communities were at the mercy of these giants and had to deal with contracts to service a region. While this was great news for the provider in charge of a given area, it was bad news for consumers who were locked into a limited pool of ISP choices or none at all. For many Americans, this is the sad reality. Within the same state, it’s not unusual to have various providers, but for different regions that were not overlapped.
Perhaps the biggest push on why local communities should be allowed to have their own service is Chattanooga, TN. What happens when the giants spend more time lobbying and pocketing profits instead of upgrading their infrastructure? Local gigabit internet is what. For the battle of the internet, Chattanooga is often a cited source for inspiration on why this corporate stranglehold is bad for the development of the nation and it’s ability to compete more effectively in the global market. Some states are allowed to have local broadband, others were pressured in exchange for allowing the giants to have their way. For those citizens living in such areas, Google Fiber’s expansion was a glimmer of hope.
Net Neutrality is keeping the internet free from changes, to allow information to freely flow without limit. Commissioner Tom Wheeler has been adamant about this for some time now. While this is a victory for communities everywhere to perhaps start up their own gigabit network, the war is not over. CEOs from the likes of Verizon, AT&T and Comcast are not going to let this slip their grasp and will fight it off. Reclassifying broadband and lifting blocks for community broadband is a major step for American Internet. Check out the live feed from the FCC conference.
How do you feel about the decision by the FCC and do you support it?