As expected, in a 3-2 vote, members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted this week to overturn net neutrality on Thursday, December 14, 2017. Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.
While the FCC’s action was anticipated, I prepared to draft a memo to my elected representatives in Congress to voice my concern and dissent. One key point that I wanted to express is this: Creation of the Internet was the work of dozens of pioneering scientists, programmers and engineers who each developed new features and technologies that eventually merged to become the “information superhighway” we know today. Most if not all of this work to create the internet was done with taxpayer dollars.
The first workable prototype of the Internet came in the late 1960s with the creation of ARPANET, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Originally funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, ARPANET used packet switching to allow multiple computers to communicate on a single network. The technology continued to grow in the 1970s after scientists Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf developed Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP, a communications model that set standards for how data could be transmitted between multiple networks. ARPANET adopted TCP/IP on January 1, 1983, and from there researchers began to assemble the “network of networks” that became the modern Internet. [Source: History.com]
The internet was created for the public. Net neutrality benefits consumers and companies alike. It should not pit people against companies. It is actively good for business.
I personally am challenged to support the end of net neutrality primarily so that large Internet Service Providers (ISP) like Verizon and AT&T can block or throttle (slow down) the public’s access to certain web sites and services or charge them extra money for “fast lanes” with better access from the internet that was built by tax payer dollars. The decision to end net neutrality should not only benefit large ISP providers.
FCC members cast their ballots to end net neutrality, however, the fight to preserve it is already underway.