The Impending Death Of Our Free Internet

The free and open internet that allowed young startups to not only go toe to toe with established giants but also pull the rug from underneath them by innovative ideas may be a thing of the past soon.

The United States has followed European laws in recent years when it comes to privacy, net neutrality, and anti-competitive practices but decisions are taken in America still have a massive bearing all over the world.

Most of the largest technology companies in the world are American and if these services will be allowed to simply preserve their monopoly by virtue of wireless carrier tie-ins then they will lose their edge.

Free competition has been the cornerstone that a capitalist society has been built on, very successfully in the case of the USA, we must add.

Imagine where Netflix would be if consumers had a financial incentive to use Blockbuster. Yes, some companies may still be able to overcome these obstacles as well, however, there will be numerous other startups that do not.

Facebook is large enough to broker deals with carriers that allow users not to pay for any data being used to browse facebook, Instagram or Messanger but Snapchat may not have the financial muscle to do so.

Instead of companies competing on the strength of their offerings, they will now be paying for an unfair advantage.

Under the Trump administration, though, it seems that Ajit Pai is determined to kill net neutrality as soon as possible.

The FCC, under Tom Wheeler (Pai’s predecessor), had opened inquiries into the practice of offering free data for certain services by all 4 major carriers. The current administration though has killed all of those investigations and sent letters to the carriers promising that all queries or findings would not be considered to have any legal meaning going forward.

This is a huge blow for the open internet and threatens to change the leadership the US enjoys in this space.

Pai is selling this move to the public as being ‘pro-poor’ since according to him such programs offering free data were very popular and helped provide access to the internet among the lower demographics.

The fact that this will allow wireless providers to become gatekeepers of content and essentially dictate what a person should watch or not has been glossed over.

This is an anti-freedom move in its purest form and it should be the duty of every body to make as much noise about it as possible.

 

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