Website Design Lexington, Kentucky

A Web Without Net Neutrality Protections

ISPs will not treat all content equally, and the internet is no longer open and free

Net Neutrality Protections Repealed

Published December 31st, 2017

On February 26, 2015, the FCC ruled in favor of Net Neutrality by reclassifying broadband as common carrier under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 and Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

With the Net Neutrality rules in place, ISPs were legally obligated to treat ALL internet content equally and be indiscriminate regarding the type of information disseminated across their networks. Sadly, Net Neutrality was effectively repealed with a 3-2 vote on behalf of the FCC on December 14th, 2017. It was the main thing forbidding ISPs from meddling in online consumer content and discriminating against that content. It enforced them to provide an equal playing field for all who used the internet within the United States. Those protections are gone now, and people are very pissed off.

If it’s any indication of the coming storm, Comcast, one of the largest ISPs in the nation, deleted its Net Neutrality pledge the same day the FCC announced its Net Neutrality repeal proceedings. From that point on, ISPs were ever more desperate to regain the countless billions in revenue lost to providers like Apple, Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and Amazon.

One thing’s almost given. ISPs will practice tit for tat, quid pro quo warfare with competing ISPs since the old rules regarding this have been repealed. It’s already begun, and ISP giants like AT&T, Comcast, and Spectrum could start slowing down each other’s traffic across their networks any day now. Given the scenario, this only drives up costs for ISPs and, ultimately, the consumer. There are now no rules in place to prevent any of it.

Unfortunately, no one knows what will happen, and this article was written in pure speculation of what could happen due to 2017's Net Neutrality repeal and past experiences with ISPs, given their norm for poor customer service, corporate greed, and substandard business practices.

What Happens Now?

So what now? What’s the internet going to be like for businesses and people who can’t afford the pay-to-play rules ISPs will undoubtedly enforce in the new year? No one knows for sure, but ISPs now have the right to place highly trafficked websites including social media platforms, online marketplaces, consumer banks, and video streaming services into what I’m calling classes. It seemed right to call them “classes“ because they could be classified by the following criteria to determine how to be treated and charged for moving forward:

- Traffic amount
- Financial size & revenue
- Monthly user count
- Total user base size
- Bandwidth usage
- User popularity

Class A - Mass Consumer Products, Social Platforms & Competitors

Want access to Class A websites such as social media, Netflix, or even your bank? Be prepared. ISPs will most likely charge a premium rate for it. Keep in mind, social media companies generally provide their platforms at zero cost and make money from user advertisements. They’re going to be paying more for their own access and passing this on to the user.

These companies could be charged to have their own websites accessed swiftly across a single ISP's network, and, being global firms, they’ll also have to pay other ISPs for the exact same access. And each ISP will have a different price tag with different classification rules for companies. ISPs could essentially be double dipping into an untapped revenue stream and become even larger with more money to lobby government to bend to their will. Also, if you’re competing with an ISP, you’re going to have to pay a massive bill to have your content served across their networks... and there’s no guarantee on the speed you'll get as a result of your agreement with them.

Class B - Small Business, Startups & Non-Essential Services

This category could be where businesses are charged based on traffic, users, and bandwidth. It’s all up in the air as to what ISPs could do with their regained powers. They can control online communication methods, restrict access to websites with practices they disagree with, or slow a website down simply because they don’t like them.

Class C - Essential Services & Government Websites

We believe there will be at third class of online media - Class C. Class C could be comprised of all websites the government restricts from throttling or discrimination. Entities in this class could be government websites such as the IRS, FCC (of course), USPS, and all local government websites that are deemed “essential.” I don’t see how the government would allow its own FCC to restrict access to official government websites that are necessary for the commerce.

It is our fondest hope that our future regains an open, free internet with protections in place for both consumers and businesses alike. Be sure to thank the FCC Committee for voting for an agenda no one wants and no one can afford.

A Friendly Message from your ISP

We can almost hear it now...

Thanks for calling us! We know you love Facebook, and we wouldn't want your online experience to be slowed down. So, would you like to order the Facebook package for $14.99/month or get the Full Social Bundle which includes Facebook and Twitter for $19.99/month?

About the Author

Tim Raymer is a professional designer with 10 years of experience in the design industry. He holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Eastern Kentucky University. He is a design and marketing consultant who enjoys spending time with his wife, Meagan, and two sons, Atticus and Gaius.