Protecting the consumer

Published 1:03 pm Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission unveiled a plan this week to roll back net neutrality rules.

Net neutrality is the concept that the internet is utilized the same across the board — a larger corporation has the same broadband speed as a start-up web designer in Oklahoma. Internet providers cannot speed up or slow down how content gets to readers based on how much money a content generator pays.

Leading this latest charge to undo parts of net-neutrality rules is FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who was quoted as saying the regulations are “micromanaging the internet.”

Pai could not be more wrong.

Some might argue there are two kinds of laws: those that do, in fact, intervene in citizens’ daily lives, and those that protect citizens from unnecessary infringements.

Net neutrality is the latter, and these particular restrictions have never been more important.

In a world wide web without net neutrality, companies have the ability to pay for better broadband capabilities, which means their content would be more readily available to users at the expense of others’ content. This places power in the hands of whoever can pay the most, rather than in the hands of consumers. Consumers would have a watered-down ability to choose what content is readily available to them.

Large businesses are important, and they do have a right to promote themselves via the internet. However, they should not be able to infringe on the rights of the “little guys” who may have something just as important to share.

The internet was founded as a place for all people — not just the rich. Its essence is the idea of a level playing field. When companies dictate web content based on how much money they pay internet providers, problems will ensue.

Net neutrality regulations are meant to protect, not micromanage.