Net Neutrality

The internet is a symbol of globalization and U.S. world hegemony based on the innovation and capacity to bring the future to the everyday lives of the majority of the planet’s 7 billion inhabitants. This premise explains the importance of a domestic but momentous decision for the future of the web: the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has eliminated the regulation that forces internet supplier companies to guarantee their neutrality, which, from now on, will allow them to implement restrictions that can be considered arbitrary, according to the user and the content. Net neutrality regulation, promoted by former President Barack Obama, was approved in 2015.

The results of the vote (3-2) illustrate the flaming polarization that the measure elicited, understood by its critics as a serious attack on “micromanagement” and the open spirit of the internet, or simply as a “light tweak.” According to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, “It’s not going to kill democracy. It’s not going stifle the freedom of expression online.”

Net neutrality is a complex matter that includes economic (i.e., risk of monopolistic attitudes) and technological dimensions, censorship and freedom of expression issues. One can find the background for these issues in the answer that each player gives to the million-dollar question: Is the internet a public service? According to many network pioneers who oppose lifting net neutrality, FCC regulators “don’t understand how the internet works. Neutrality is key to preventing access providers from blocking content, websites, or application that could slow down or speed up services.”*

Differences of opinion among businesses about the issue are also large and threaten to continue in the courts, so characteristic of a litigious American society. The reform is backed by service providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon, among others. The opposition includes Facebook and Netflix, whose directors expect a legal battle. On the political level, analysts point out that the youth segment, which is the group most against ending net neutrality, resolutely opposes the possible changes, which could revitalize the Democrats in their struggle against Donald Trump. Europe has its own rules of play most favorable to Internet users even with considerable discretion for suppliers, the great beneficiaries of the opportunities offered by an internet without neutrality.

*Editor’s note: Although accurately translated, the originator(s) of this quote and its source could not be independently verified.

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