Seeking to dispel “myths” about net neutrality, the Trump administration’s telecom chief instead put out his own incomplete and misleading talking points when he suggested that internet providers had never influenced content available to their customers before neutrality rules took effect in 2015.
Iffy claims have come from the other side of the debate, too, such as the notion that federal regulators had never stepped in to make those providers change their service plans. Although no such cases were brought, the Federal Communications Commission was possibly on track to do so when the new administration stopped the investigation.
The debate is over Obama-era rules that the FCC chairman, chosen by President Donald Trump, wants to roll back. The rules prevent phone and cable companies from favoring certain websites and apps and give the FCC more oversight over privacy and the activities of telecom companies. AT&T, Comcast and Verizon are among the service providers that have opposed the FCC rules, as have many Republican officials, saying they hurt investment in internet infrastructure and represent too much government involvement in business. Internet companies, consumer-advocacy groups and Democratic officials have generally been in favor of net-neutrality rules.
A look at a few of the arguments and the facts behind them:
After a Repeal
Net-neutrality supporters warn that without these rules in place, service providers could block any website or app they want, or degrade service so much that it doesn’t work well. They could also charge extra to use certain apps or websites.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says there’s no reason to worry about service providers blocking websites or charging extra for certain content. “This didn’t happen before the Obama Administration’s 2015 heavy-handed Internet regulations, and it won’t happen after they are repealed,” his office said in a document last week attempting to bust myths. – Udaipur Kiran