Justin Kim Campbell Hall 11th Grade
President Donald Trump chose Republican Ajit Pai of the US Federal Communications Commission to serve as its chairman at the beginning of his term. On December 14, 2017, the FCC voted for the controversial proposal by Pai to repeal net-neutrality. In the midst of both its protests and commends, the issue of net-neutrality dwells deep into American politics much more than it seems. Apart from the Trump administration, various Republicans have conveyed their dissatisfaction with the lenient protections of net-neutrality during the Obama-era. In 2015, Texas senator Ted Cruz referred to net-neutrality as “Obamacare for the Internet” while Kentucky senator Rand Paul called it “a direct attack on the freedom of information.”
However, large majorities of Americans think contrary to the previous sentiments. According to a survey from the University of Maryland, 3 out of 4 Republicans actually oppose the government’s decision to repeal net-neutrality for Internet Service Providers. Another study from the university’s Program for Public Consultation and Voice of the People, a nonpartisan polling organization, found that 83 percent of Americans do not approve of the FCC’s new regulations. Only 16 percent of Americans said that they did. Several Democratic politicians highly disagree with the repeal as well. Minority Leader of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi tweeted: “Net neutrality is central to saving families money, creating good-paying jobs, and empowering small businesses.” Senator Dianne Feinstein also tweeted that the repeal of net-neutrality “is the latest decision by the Trump administration in an effort to systematically repeal and destroy EVERYTHING we achieved over the last eight years.”
But what is our president’s motive in net-neutrality’s repeal? Although net-neutrality advocates believed that Trump would be more friendly once in office, a tweet in 2014 states the opposite. Trump claimed that net neutrality would somehow target conservative media, due to his opposition to the merging of AT&T and Time Warner during his campaign. Other than this, the president himself has not made any other formal statements regarding the FCC’s decision. President Obama’s net-neutrality rules classified telecommunications companies like Verizon and AT&T as public utilities, like water or electricity companies.
This barred Internet providers from selling faster delivery, slowing speeds for certain videos or content, and discriminating against legal material. However, Ajit Pai advocated for those rules to be vacated. Many Republicans in politics now side with Internet providers, who say more regulations dissuaded them from providing better Internet. What is clear in the political commotion of net-neutrality’s repeal is that the Internet will soon be what Pai calls a “light-touch, market-based framework.”
<Justin Kim Campbell Hall 11th Grade