FCC chair Tom Wheeler, a former cable industry lobbyist, announced on Wednesday that he would introduce a plan to restore the net neutrality rules the US District Court struck down in January. However, whatever Wheeler suggests might not be as effective as simply classifying ISP’s as common carriers.
What Wheeler is proposing is something along the lines of ISP self-regulation, which is about the same as nothing. This should not come as a surprise coming from a man who said in December, that he supported ISP’s charging more for access to different services like Netflix.
According to The Hill, “Wheeler will look to the agency’s Data Roaming Order — a set of 2011 rules that require wireless companies to offer data roaming arrangements to each other on “commercially reasonable terms and conditions.”
Republicans are balking at any attempts to maintain the net neutrality rules that have been in existence for about 15 years, calling them excessive new government regulations. Unless these lawmakers have been living under a rock, they should probably know that restoring the same rules that were already in place are not “new regulations.”
The fact that Republicans tried to kill net neutrality last September, ahead of the court ruling that did it for them, shows that their allegiance remains on the side of corporate profits over consumer freedom.
Net neutrality is about more than maintaining a free and open internet; it’s about making sure ISP censorship, in all its potential forms, is not allowed to turn the internet into a pay-for-play venue that only high income people can afford.