The FCC, under the leadership of FCC CHAIR AJIT Pai’s, would like to repeal net neutrality – in our view a colossal error in judgment and I’d like to encourage all of you to get on the phone and ask your Congressman or Congresswomen to prevent that from happening. The Internet is national critical infrastructure serving medical services, finance, e-commerce, government, businesses and individuals. Mr. Pai an attorney, and formerly Associate General Counsel at Verizon Communications Inc., would like to reclassify common carriers, like Verizon, as information providers. Since divestiture, it’s been an ambition of common carriers to provide more than voice and data services; in fact, they’ve been salivating to get into the content provider business.
In and of itself this is a non-issue specifically because net neutrality is a regulatory requirement. Without getting into a lot of technical jargon, net neutrality simply states that the internet service providers and common carriers must prioritize all data equally. Eliminating net neutrality means that a common carrier can selectively prioritize data from customers using any number of marketing and pricing models.
For example, assume you secure venture capital to start a content provider company. Your business plan accounts for competing with other providers on the basis of quality programing. Under net neutrality you are assured of having the same quality of content transport as Netflix or Verizon. However, with net neutrality eliminated Verizon can prioritize their own content over your startup company, and they can also prioritize Netflix over yours, simply because they are a larger customer.
Even more dangerous is the very real possibility that common carriers will be able to assign a lower QoS (Quality of Service – it means priority) to organizations, political candidates or any content they feel “inappropriate” or don’t agree with. A lower priority means poor video and audio quality, increased transaction response time, excessive network latency and any number of performance issues. It also opens the door to oligopoly pricing. Small ISPs would see significantly higher network costs and we the consumers will see higher prices for what amounts to poorer service.
The FCC should devote its attention to the r.f spectrum, the hackneyed cliché applies here – if it’s not broken don’t fix it. The military is in need of greater bandwidth as is commercial communications.
In closing, the FCC needs a Chair who is someone other than a suit for the common carriers. We need someone with a vision focused on the United States and its citizens, common carriers can take care of themselves and are extremely profitable.
Please call your elected officials and ask them to put the brakes on Mr. Pai’s ambitions.