FCC votes to repeal Net Neutrality in the US. Now what?

The funny thing about this event is that people all over the world have a hard for-or-against opinion on it, despite it being an issue isolated to America, and despite it being an issue that won’t end the world.  It shows how far the social media bubbles lead to everyone just parroting each other for in-group affirmation and being unable to have a neutral, objective and nuanced stance.

Here in Canada it has been a hot topic, mainly because it’s fashionable (and unproductive) to be against anything the U.S. decides to do.  The Canadian government has only thought about its own Net Neutrality bill when the U.S. revived it as a household topic this year.  Canada should instead focus on its bigger problem regarding the CRTC and its lobbying constituent oligopoly: Rogers and Bell.

In any case, just as the Internet survived prior to the introduction of the bill in 2015, it will survive in the future.

From my previous article on Net Neutrality, in order to get the desired result of a free market while minimizing the power of a monopoly and making Internet access an essential service, it would be ideal to have the infrastructure at the community or municipal level publicly owned, just like roads. The “roads” are paid like public utilities, with the public (at the community or municipal level) maintaining the utility, and these “roads” lead to different ISP retailers.  This allows small ISPs to compete if they are not at the mercy of the big telecom companies by having to “borrow” their infrastructure.

Nothing really changes with Net Neutrality gone. Continue to vote with your dollars if you find any of the telecoms misbehaving. Americans are still free, roughly speaking, to voice their opinions and have choice of who to give their dollars to.

If the big ISPs start throttling your Internet habits, whether it be using torrent, video streaming, or other protocols, let the market know you are looking for alternatives that don’t discriminate.

Support the smaller businesses if possible. A lot of supposed monopolies can be attributed to users afraid of change. Examples include users not trying an alternative search engine like DuckDuckGo as opposed to Google, or simply not relying on social media like Twitter and Facebook as their means of communication and information. No one needs to use Google or Facebook. The feeling of necessity comes from addiction and dependence, and just plain laziness and lack of willpower to try something different.

If you increase the demand for alternatives, the alternatives will naturally receive more investment and be given a chance to compete and break up monopolies.  The free market begins with the consumer and their choices.

That being said, start talking about public construction of core infrastructure without handing the keys over to big government.  Take control at a more local level so that power is never concentrated in one area, whether that be in the hands of big corporations or big government (which frankly are one and the same under cronyism).  If Internet access is truly an essential service, particularly for many smaller businesses that may depend on it for their survival, then it becomes more necessary that everyone has the ability to own and use it without any single party controlling the bottleneck.

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