Undoubtedly, our News Feeds tonight will be full of angry posts about today’s hot news story re: Net Neutrality. Posts will claim that:
- Net Neutrality was abolished today
- ISPs are now free to monitor user traffic
- ISPs are now free to control the user’s Internet experience by modifying content downloads
- ISPs are now free to charge different rates for different speeds
- ISPs are now free to charge different rates for access to different content
Unfortunately, as happens too often, these posts will be simple regurgitations of what the user has read online or has heard from their peers. Coming from a place of ignorance, these posts will surely exclude consideration of two main points:
Net Neutrality has never been implemented.
- All popular ISPs and cell providers have always monitored user traffic
- Comcast made headlines yesterday for getting caught (again!) injecting code into webpages
- All popular ISPs and cell providers have always charged different rates for different speeds
- All popular ISPs, cell, and TV service providers have always sold different plans with access to different content ex: the multiple Xfinity TV plans with different sets of channel offerings
- All popular ISPs and cell providers have always sold plans on which they throttle data after specific usage limits
Just because the FCC rules something, doesn’t mean that it will come to be and, if it does come to be, it doesn’t mean that it will be put into motion anytime soon. The courts are fighting today’s FCC decision. Also, any change that comes from today’s FCC ruling could prove to be relatively imperceptible and may serve to benefit the consumer through competition.
In the case that I am the ignorant one and that everyone’s posts today speak of an impending reality, one might find solace in the rise of mesh networking, onion routing, and other technologies that may prove useful in circumventing or avoiding altogether the “new” hyper-controlled Internet.