It looks like the US Democratic Party is going to have a crack at bringing back net neutrality, something which was taken away from Americans after the telecoms companies complained.
Net neutrality is the idea that ISPs must treat all internet data the same. Under its regime, ISPs are not allowed to selectively speed up or slow down information requested by their customers due to their selective gatekeeping of the services impacted.
While the rest of the world enjoys having net neutrality, the United States, which claims to have invented the internet, insists that it is communistic and bad for business. They claim it as government regulation of something, which has worked just fine. Of course that logic does not really hold water because the Internet has succeeded because it is an open platform and it is only recently that telcos have being trying to screw customers for more money.
Until last month the only thing that was ending net neutrality was a ruling by the FCC which basically claimed it had the right to police it. That was shot down by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.
Democrats in the House and Senate yesterday introduced the Open Internet Preservation Act, a bill that would reinstate now-defunct net neutrality rules that were shot down last month.
Those in favour of net neutrality view the regulatory scheme as key to a free, open, and level playing field. The Preservation Act is short and merely “restores” what was “vacated” by the court’s decision.
But apparently the law has not got a bat’s chance in hell of getting the law through. Republicans are almost entirely united in opposition to the Internet rules, meaning the bill is unlikely to receive a vote in the GOP-controlled House.
There are also some other dangers which the GOP has not seen yet. If there is no net neutrality and ISPs decide who gets full services, it means that they now have control over what is on the internet. That means one of the fruity religious groups that the US seems to love growing can order ISPs to remove content that they find blasphemous and immoral. It would be tempting to say that is why the religious GOP would want something like that, however we think it is probably because they take too many campaign donations from telcos.
Still, it will be interesting to see what happens when the US finds itself suffering as its internet development falls behind other countries because its telcos have become too greedy.