The telecommunication companies are pushing hard against net neutrality so that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can charge different rates to companies for use of their networks. This would result in large companies that are willing to pay being able to provide faster response times than smaller, poorer companies, eventually squeezing the latter out of business. President Obama appointed the head of the lobbying body of the cable companies to head the FCC, which strongly hinted that the fix was in.
The Federal Communications commission has called for public comments on its regulatory proposals and apparently they have been deluged with comments, with 99% wanting a high degree of regulation enforcing neutrality.
As Brian Fung writes:
Despite the incomplete analysis, the research is the most credible one we’ve seen to date and shows an overwhelming bias toward stronger regulation. About two-thirds of the studied comments called for reclassifying broadband providers under Title II of the Communications Act — a move that would allow the FCC to regulate ISPs more heavily but would likely provoke a strong political backlash.
The backlash that Fung refers to is not a widespread public one but from the cable companies and their powerful allies, including members of Congress and the White House.
John Oliver provided an excellent analysis of net neutrality and what is at stake and was one of those who called upon his viewers to write in.
So now the FCC has the problem of how to kowtow to the cable companies and subvert net neutrality while not enraging the public. This could be an explosive issue because people care about the internet even if they are not fully aware of the danger to it that currently exists. If neutrality goes away and they later realize what they have lost, this could provoke a real public backlash.
I hope the FCC is scared enough to back away from undermining net neutrality.