Freedom will survive without net neutrality

From almost every Hawaii elected leaders, one would think the end of net neutrality was the end of the world as we know it. How will we survive? The reactions were predictable:

• “The FCC’s ruling to end the Obama-era policy of net neutrality is a disgrace to free speech in our modern world. It is about more than just slower Netflix and a pricier Facebook. When monopolistic corporations control the internet, they control our ability to speak out against them and organize a resistance.” — State Rep. Kaniela Saito Ing

• “My administration has long been and will continue to be a strong proponent of maintaining net neutrality, despite the Federal Communications Commission’s recent repeal of neutrality rules. We had the foresight to require neutrality in agreements with Internet Service Providers. Attorney General Doug Chin and Office of Consumer Protection director Stephen Levins have already started their strong opposition to the repeal, and I am committed to ensuring that all Hawai‘i residents have the benefit of an open platform of innovation, education and free expression. I will be working with stakeholders to protect the integrity of this critical resource. —Gov. David Ige

• “Today, the FCC voted to put profits over people — a slap in the face to our democracy and the millions of Americans that have voiced comments, made calls, and fought to protect net neutrality. Industry giants like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T will now be able to control the access and speed of websites, stifle competition online, and turn the Internet into a pay-to-play forum.” — Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

• “I call on Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin to pursue legal action because the protection and preservation of net neutrality is key to allowing equal access to all forms of internet content. The FCC’s decision erodes such protections and empowers large and powerful internet service providers to control internet content in order to leverage corporate profits. I was pleased to learn that the Democratic Attorneys General Association is exploring this matter and urge Mr. Chin to protect net neutrality for the people of Hawaii.” — Rep. Matt LoPresti

• “Today, Trump’s FCC dealt a major blow to the free and open internet by repealing net neutrality rules. Because of Chairman Pai and the other Republican commissioners, there are no longer any rules in place to stop internet service providers from changing the internet as we know it. They are now free to block apps, slow websites, or even limit access to certain kinds of content. The best way to move forward is to turn our tweets and our comments into action.” — U.S. Sen Brian Schatz

It’s unanimous. Everyone hates this end of net neutrality. There’s nothing to like about it. Right? Wrong.

There actually are pros to this, which you will never hear from anyone elected to office in Hawaii (well, there might be someone out there). And they will argue that the pros, in the end, only benefit the big businesses and hurt the little guy sitting at his computer at home.

But don’t we like more competition in business? Don’t we like businesses to be free of too many government rules and regulations and telling them what they can and can’t do? Don’t we want the government to stay out of our affairs?

Well, apparently not when it means we might lose something that we’re getting for cheap.

For the sake of another view, some cons of net neutrality:

• It costs an internet service provider more money. We know. You don’t care about that. But it’s a case of government regulations proving costly to private business.

• Those who use way more bandwidth than others don’t pay for it. They are basically subsidized by those who use little. Does it really make sense that the person who just checks their emails and pays a few bills online pays the same as some person who streams games all day? With net neutrality, an ISP can’t charge more for data consumption. If they could, the argument goes, it would pay for advanced fiber networks and people may simply have to pay for the data they use.

• Virtually anything can be posted on the Internet. We know. No matter how rude, obscene or disrespectful something is, someone will argue it’s all a matter of opinion and they have their free of speech. They’ll start screaming about censorship and that they have the right to post whatever they want.

Before we have more elected leaders demanding we have net neutrality back and calling for legal action or saying it will ruin their lives and the lives of everyone they know, let’s wait and see what happens. Most likely, not much and this is much ado about nothing. But even the slightest change should bring about more cries of blows to freedom in America and calls for the government to save our cheap and uncensored Internet.

  1. Lawaibob December 22, 2017 10:56 am Reply

    No author? This argument is weak at best and shows a blatant misunderstanding of what is at stake here. Telecom companies already do bandwidth throttling, so scratch that part of the argument off. The part about censorship isn’t even a complete thought.

  2. John Zwiebel December 22, 2017 7:02 pm Reply

    I rarely talk on the phone. My wife talks on the phone all the time. We pay the same amount.

    It is more efficient for the phone company to not have to charge for every minute used. The accounting problem would be super expensive and probably prone to errors. The same is true for the internet service providers, there is no way they are going to count every packet someone sends and charge minuscule fractions of one penny for each packet. So let’s throw that argument out the window.

    More competition? Well, if it weren’t for the fact that customer internet is provided by only 4 corporations and they have divided up the nation so that there are very few places more than one provides “last mile service.” Spectrum is a DBA for Charter Communications. Are you really thinking that you might turn to Hawaiian Telecom? I looked, they don’t provide Internet to my town. Nope, truth is Charter has a monopoly.

    I fail to see how “net neutrality” costs an Internet Service Provider more. If you make your living making breakfast solely out of potatoes, it costs you more (although only slightly) to offer those potatoes other than mashed. The ISPs have redefined “cost” to include the lost profit at being able to charge $1 for mashed potatoes but $20 for the same amount of potatoes but served au gratin. (If one wanted to be snarky, similar to customers paying twice as much for organic potatoes.)

    Then the “Free Speech” issue is portrayed as if it is all about pornography. Such a policy will leave only Fox News (and on occasion MSNBC) with the opportunity to form public opinion. Kind of like those who insist there’s “nothing wrong” with the Democratic Party Super Delegates (who betrayed Hawaii’s Democratic Voters). Those of us with a different opinion will have no where to go. Oh you lucky, lucky Trump worshipers, or are you unlucky? You won’t have to hear our “drivel” but then you won’t have anyone to vent your venom. Tough Choice.

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