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August 15 2018

Net Neutrality is Dead and the Internet is Getting Faster

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

Do you remember when celebrities, tech companies and celebrities like John Oliver launched an all-out campaign to save net neutrality?

They claimed stopping net neutrality repeal would protect a free and open internet. Apparently, the internet was not free or open until the Obama administration decided to start regulating it. Go figure.

Now, two months after net neutrality rules have been repealed, the doomsday predictions of slowed or limited internet access to your favorite streaming, social media, and even porn websites have not come to fruition. Instead, broadband internet access in the United States appears to have gotten faster.

According to estimates, fixed broadband internet speeds have moved the U.S. up from 12th to 6th fastest in the world. This is exactly the opposite of the doomsday predictions from the left. There’s a clear decrease in download speeds beginning in December 2017 when the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) announced it would repeal net neutrality and June of this year when the repeal took effect.

What replaced net neutrality was the "lighter-touch" regulatory environment that preceded net neutrality. This was the principle that the Clinton Administration and Republican Congress in the mid-1990s deemed would help the budding internet develop and it worked.

That changed in 2015 ago with the imposition of “heavy-handed” Obama-era regulations. The unintended consequence of the 2015 net neutrality rules was to slow new services and choices for consumers, as well as to slow investment in broadband expansion and networks.

Net neutrality was never about neutrality, but government control of the freest inventions of our generation. The FCC grabbed regulatory power away from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which had authority over internet companies to police unfair and anticompetitive practices. The new rules return that authority to the FTC.

Even ardent supporters of net neutrality laws like Netflix CEO Reed Hastings admits that the repeal will mean nothing changes for customers of streaming services like his. In fact, since the repeal, Netflix has grown its subscriber base dramatically and secured deals with broadband providers to guarantee bandwidth for its video traffic.

Now that the end of the world has not occurred, hysteria over the end of net neutrality has died down. This will no longer be a campaign issue to motivate millennials to vote in the 2018 midterm elections.

We all want free and open internet. That principle preceded net neutrality rules and will continue now that net neutrality rules have been repealed. 

Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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