Say goodbye to net neutrality and higher prices to access the Internet. The Trump administration’s agenda includes higher costs for internet access and to permit your Internet experience to be subject to the whims of your Internet Service Provider (ISP), such as Optimum or Verizon. Until now, rules that effectively made “net neutrality” the law of the land. That’s about to change.
First, what is net neutrality? Basically, as its name indicates, net neutrality guarantees an Internet that is a free and open platform. Users are able to use their bandwidth however they want and Internet service providers cannot discriminate (through increased cost or better access) in favor of any particular web site. Rather, an ISP must give each website equal footing in reaching their users.
Now, President Trump has tapped Ajit Pai, an outspoken critic of net neutrality, to become Chairman of the FCC, the agency responsible for enforcing and promulgating rules governing the Internet. Commissioner Pai opposes consumer protection, from the net neutrality rules to consumers’ right to online privacy. His basic position on net neutrality is that enforcement of net neutrality rules is unfair to Internet Service Providers, and he has an agenda to undo those rules.
What does this mean to you? First, don’t be fooled by laws touted as providing “Internet freedom,” as was tried in the past. Undoing the guarantee of net neutrality will allow ISPs to deliver content differently depending on the service by, for example, creating tiers of service that would have consumers (you and me) pay for priority access instead of bandwidth speeds. Suppliers also would be free to charge high-bandwidth content providers (or more popular sites), like Netflix, more to carry their content, or they could charge users, like you and me, extra to access Netflix.
Ultimately, the effect of undoing net neutrality rules will make Internet access more expensive. Over time, one can only assume that websites (like Netflix) will pass on to us the costs they may pay for high-speed access. In addition, it would become more difficult to view websites that can’t (or won’t) pay for high-speed access.
You can do something about this. Contact your Congressional representatives and tell them that you don’t want to pay any more to your cable company or telephone provider for supplying what is now a necessary utility just like your electricity service. If you live in Congressional District 1(which includes the East End), call Congressman Zeldin’s Riverhead office at 631-209-4235.