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Should the Internet be Regulated Like a Public Utility?

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Should the Internet be Regulated Like a Public Utility?
At the end of January, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Tom Wheeler, announced that the Internet should become regulated (1). Wheeler states that the Internet is as important to the American people as water and electricity, and so should now be considered a utility and regulated as such, and that the best interests of the consumers should be the priority, not those of the gatekeepers (2).

While you may immediately think of freedom of speech and a purge of the atrocities that exist on the Internet, these regulations will actually focus more on competition. This is about net neutrality, a concept from President Obama’s administration (3) which is about ensuring that all broadband providers move content as the same speed.

This means that large businesses, such as the major streaming companies, aren’t able to run start-ups and non-profits out of business purely because they can afford to pay the broadband companies large sums of money.

Since the Internet first appeared in our homes, the FCC has used the 1996 Telecommunications Act to encourage healthy competition on the internet. But this was knocked back in 2014, meaning that providers can now give specific content priority although it has to tell the consumer when this is happening (4).

Since then, President Obama and consumer supporters have suggested applying Title II of the 1934 Communications Act (5), originally designed for radio, the telegraph and phone service. This would stop Internet companies from charging unreasonable rates and threatening consumers with a loss of services.




What this Means for the Consumer

In theory, only positive things should come out of this move for the consumer. Regulating competition via the Internet will mean that you won’t be out of pocket accessing services which will now be deemed critical to a good quality of living.

In fact, not only will you not be overcharged, but you will have a greater choice of services as small businesses are able to compete with the fat cats.

Those opposing the idea have suggested that consumers will be forced to pay a $72 tax increase for their U.S. wireless account, and $67 for wired accounts (6).

However, the Internet Tax Freedom Act should prevent this. In fact, the Government is much more likely to make any money from companies who fail to adhere to any new rules.

internet

Impact on the Industry

In theory, only positive things should come out of this move for the consumer. Regulating competition via the Internet will mean that you won’t be out of pocket accessing services which will now be deemed critical to a good quality of living.

In fact, not only will you not be overcharged, but you will have a greater choice of services as small businesses are able to compete with the fat cats.

Those opposing the idea have suggested that consumers will be forced to pay a $72 tax increase for their U.S. wireless account, and $67 for wired accounts (1).

However, the Internet Tax Freedom Act should prevent this. In fact, the Government is much more likely to make any money from companies who fail to adhere to any new rules.

It would complicate things further for all companies, large and small. These regulations would only exist in the U.S. whereas the Internet is worldwide. This isn’t a big hurdle, different countries have different trading laws and international online companies must stay on the right side of all of them.

Perhaps, but given the opposition it may be unlikely. Wheeler is circulating a proposal to the FCC in the coming weeks (1). It is thought that it will contain many ideas from the 1934 Communications Act with some amendments. And then it will truly become political, a battle between Obama’s Democrats and the Republicans who have already announced that they will oppose such regulations.

References & Image Credits:
(1) Phys.org
(2) InfoWars
(3) Whitehouse
(4) The Verge
(5) OJP

Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com

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Ryan is the founder of Top Secret Writers. He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.
 
Lori is TSW's editor. Freelance writer and editor for over 17 years, she loves to read and loves fringe science and conspiracy theory.

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Mark Dorr grew up the son of a treasure hunter. His experiences led to working internationally in some surprising situations!
Mark R. Whittington, from Houston, Texas, frequently writes on space, science, political commentary and political culture.

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