We have been through this before and here we are again: someone in government wants to make it hard, maybe impossible, for startups and ordinary people to get online without paying a whole lot more money that we do now.
This time it is Ajit Pai, a former attorney at Verizon, appointed to chair the Federal Communications Commiussion (FCC) last January by President Trump. Read what he wrote [pdf] about how wonderful life will be when, if he has his way, net neutrality is repealed in December:
“Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet. Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate.”
That statement is so deeply disingenuous that it bears no resemblance to what Pai intends which is to allow internet providers to make even more billions of dollars than they already do.
Trying to read the dry details of net neutrality can make you cry so I spent a good deal of the weekend looking for the best short explanation I could find for us.
After watching more than a dozen videos from the big guys in TV news and other name-brand online sources, this segment from the local news at WDIV, Channel 4 in Detroit did the best, clearest job.
Don't let the length, 6:44, deter you. It is all you need to know and as it was first broadcast yesterday, it is up to date with the latest information:
Google, Netflix and some other large tech companies oppose repealing net neutrality as do many of our representatives in Washington. Although the millions of apparently false comments being left by robots at the FCC website (referenced at the end of the video) in support of repeal may derail this next step, the FCC is set to vote on the proposal on Thursday 14 December.
You can read more about fake comments at Salon.
President Trump supports repeal of Net Neutrality. So just to add a little levity or even schadenfreude to this issue, here is a warning tweet from Wikileaks' Julian Assange addressed to Trump: