One of the stranger ideas going around among the anti-net neutrality crowd (and in the Federal Communication Commission’s proposal to roll back the net neutrality rules) is the idea that the current rules, adopted by the previous FCC, contain a loophole that allows Internet Service Providers to block whatever websites they want to and generally avoid the rules, provided they use the right magic words--namely, that if they simply say ahead of time they intend to violate the rules, they’re no longer subject to them. This is wrong—the rules only cover broadband ISPs, which are defined quite precisely, but there’s no way for an ISP to continue offering what anyone would recognize as “internet access” without being covered by the rules.
Last week, NCTA, the trade association for the industry formerly known as cable, posted this amazing graph and blog post showing that the "virtuous cycle" the Federal Communications Commission predicted would happen when it adopted the Open Internet rules (a.k.a. net neutrality) back in December 2010.
It’s safe to say we are most of us in an era of unpredictability. Take comfort, then, in this case study in predictability, for at the very least, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has so far been everything and done everything you could expect from someone who vowed to “take a weed whacker” to the open Internet. Since his ascension, Pai’s agenda has been one of systematic rollback of consumer safeguards, one by one by one, and the latest and greatest commenced at last Thursday’s Open Meeting vote to dismantle critical net neutrality protections.
As we gear up to defend and protect the net neutrality rules, parties on both sides are speaking up. One particular group, small Internet Service Providers, claim that the Federal Communication Commission’s 2015 Open Internet Order has been a death sentence for them, hindering their ability to invest and compete in the market. These small ISPs have taken to advocating against net neutrality rules but there is something missing from their claims: substance.
The Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order of 2015 finally put net neutrality rules on a firm legal basis, protecting consumers from the anti-competitive, anti-consumer schemes that monopolistic Internet Service Providers would otherwise subject them to.