Net neutrality is the government spun concept of an “open Internet.” While there are pros and cons to both sides, the latest ploy on the side of the Republican Party is to delay the United States Federal Communications Commission vote on whether FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan. Just the latest issue to divide the United States by party affiliation, this story is one that continues to deepen by the day. Republicans are now calling for a delay, of at least one month, as well as the release of Tom Wheeler’s plan – to hear what the American public thinks about net neutrality.
While the request that was made on behalf of Republican’s to allow more conversation to take place was immediately rejected, FCC Chiarman Tom Wheeler pointed out that it was finally time to act, and time to stop waiting – even as many as 4 million public comments were made on the issue. The notion of a free and open Internet isn’t what turns so many people off, regarding the debate around net neutrality, but rather the precedent that it would set in allowing the government to have oversight on an issue that otherwise has remained free and without government policing.
Those in favor of the government ruling on net neutrality argue that the Internet has become as much of a building block for essential life in the United States as electricity or land line telephones were late in the 1800s and in the early 1900s. This isn’t a concept that is being contested, but the nervousness that exists within the tech community, and the notion of what this might do to development and cost – is definitely real. For most users, when they sign onto their computer and begin browsing – regardless of any decision or vote that takes place – individual users are not likely to see or realize any changes in the immediate short term.
Rather, companies are likely to feel the biggest brunt – and they will without question be taking legal action against the FCC for making a ruling in favor of government regulation. In the long term, this might be one of the biggest areas where companies will incur greater cost and eventually start passing those costs and court fees down to their customers. Even if a vote does happen on Thursday, as it’s scheduled to, it would be unlikely that we see immediate and profound changes at user level. That being said, the reaction would be immediate by Internet Service Providers who would not want to feel the restrictions that they say would plague their development for years to come.