I believe in Net Neutrality in its purest sense. To me, it means very limited government oversight over the Internet.
Right now, a handful of corporations control most of the Internet Provider Services (ISPs) in the US. These corporate monopolies have no motivation to look after the best interests of their customers because they have no competition. The only thing they want to look after is their bottom line. So they have no incentive to provide unobstructed access to the Internet, especially if doing so costs them money.
Because a handful of companies control the entire ISP market, their customers have zero alternatives. This is definitely not a free market, where a customer can choose a different ISP if they don’t like their first one. As noted in this ArsTechnica article, in many US markets there is only one reliable ISP available to customers. These people have no choice at all.
In my perfect world, the internet would be free, with zero intervention in any form by governments or corporations, but that is not the reality of the situation we face now.
Ideally, a democratically-elected government’s role is to look out for the best interests of its people—and if you don’t agree with the job they’re doing, you can vote them out. However, no one can vote out a corporate monopoly, either at the polling booth or with their pocketbook, because there are no alternatives out there.
In the end, although I generally don’t support governments interfering with Internet access, I do support the current FCC guidelines, considering them to be the lesser of two evils. The previous administration put these rules in place to protect the rights of consumers by prohibiting ISPs from interfering with their customers’ online access.
And although they are far from perfect, these rules hold corporate monopolies in check, as the only thing preventing corporations from slowing down people’s Internet speeds or blocking certain content. The FCC rules are the last line of defense in our battle to protect net neutrality,
If the government decided to break up the monopolies and restored consumers’ access to free choice for their ISPs, I might change my position. For now, I stand on the side of net neutrality and call for the existing consumer protections to remain in place.
Finally, while some may disagree with this stance and the road to get there, I firmly believe that in the end, we all want the same thing: a truly free and open internet with neither government nor monopoly interference.