Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and other Republicans on the commission plan to repeal net neutrality rules put in place during the Obama administration. Those rules require Internet Service Providers such as cable companies to treat all Internet traffic equally and allow consumers to access the open Internet.
With the rules repealed, advocates fear, Internet Service Providers could charge companies such as Netflix fees to use more data for services such as streaming and restrict consumer access to websites.
Broadband providers such as Verizon have been on the side of doing away with net neutrality, while Internet firms including Google have weighed in on the side of net neutrality.
Jessica Rosenworcel, an FCC commissioner who opposes Pai’s plan to do away with net neutrality, writes in the Los Angeles Times:
It’s a lousy idea. And it deserves a heated response from the millions of Americans who work and create online every day.
Net neutrality is the right to go where you want and do what you want on the internet without your broadband provider getting in the way. It means your broadband provider can’t block websites, throttle services or charge you premiums if you want to reach certain online content.
Proponents of wiping out these rules think that by allowing broadband providers more control and the ability to charge for premium access, it will spur investment. This is a dubious proposition.
Wiping out net neutrality would have big consequences. Without it, your broadband provider could carve internet access into fast and slow lanes, favoring the traffic of online platforms that have made special payments and consigning all others to a bumpy road. Your provider would have the power to choose which voices online to amplify and which to censor. The move could affect everything online, including the connections we make and the communities we create.
This is not the internet experience we know today. Americans should prevent the plan from becoming the law of the land.