Democratsand progressives areconcernedthat the internet is about to descend into a corporate hellscape since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is moving to repeal Net Neutrality regulations, which prohibit internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking particular sites or throttling traffic from specific services. We tackle the issue in the latest episode of Mostly Weekly. The idea that Net Neutrality and Title II regulations are a vital barricade protecting the internet is an interesting position to arrive at given that a free-and-open internetmanaged to exist without these edicts for decades. Net Neutrality rules are still on the books, but the FCC made a proceduralvote on Thursdayto begin the prospect of peeling off Obama-era internet regulations like an old Band-Aid.
The main progressive arguments in favor of Net Neutrality are really arguments guarding against hypotheticals: that ISPs could otherwise block and censor content (they never have) or that they'll run their operations like shakedowns, requiring content providers to pay up or slow their traffic to molasses.The main documented instanceof an ISP favoring one content provider over others wasn't sinister collusion. Metro PCS offered unlimited YouTube in a budget data plan but not unlimited Hulu and Netflix, because YouTube had a compression system that could be adapted to the carrier's low-bandwidth network. In a different context, critics might have applauded Metro PCS, since bought by T-Mobile, for bringing more options to lower-income customers.