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The End of Net Neutrality, but Maybe Not the World

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The End of Net Neutrality, but Maybe Not the World

This introductory article tackles what's going on with Net Neutrality in the US, what's at stake, and what can be done about it.

· Cloud Zone
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Okay, so this series is very U.S. centric, but it may apply to you in the future even if you're not there, so you might want to keep reading.

Over the past few weeks, the debate of net neutrality has intensified as the FCC has moved to end these policies in the United States. Will this be bad for consumers and innovation? Well, maybe. This is a perfect opportunity for manufactured outrage? For sure. The cast of characters is tailor-made for the kind of melodrama we're seeing. We have the FCC, which lords over our internet access, headed by Ajit Pai, a lawyer who used to represent Verizon, who makes no bones about his pro-ISP perspective. And the rest of us poor, downtrodden peasants who just need to do what the FCC tells us. Really, it's structured like a Disney movie, it's ridiculous.

So far, we've all been playing our roles pretty well. We have the defenders of freedom (Google and Facebook? Really?) protesting the end of Net Neutrality. We have the poor, powerless, angry folks stewing about what's happening. We have the FCC releasing regulations over holiday weekends (Oh so sneaky. Honestly, I'm just flabbergasted that we actually noticed what they're trying to do). We're so distracted by all this that we're just ignoring the real, fundamental issues around ISP deregulation. Deregulation isn't always a bad thing, after all. It has worked pretty well in certain cases in the past (e.g. the Telecommunications Act of 1996).

Ideologically, this is a battle between free-market idealists and utility-minded pragmatists, with a smattering of good-old greed thrown in, but not completely the way you think. I'd really like to go into these issues in some detail to highlight how, exactly, repealing net neutrality regulations may affect us, and then I'll close with what exactly, we can all do about it (hint: It's not calling your Congress clones or going to a protest).

My goal with my writing is to put together short, digestable, useful pieces that folks can read quickly and get something from. We're all busy, I know, and if you're like me, you have oodles of tabs open in browsers across multiple devices with long articles you think you really need to read. To save you that browser real estate, I'm going to put this into a series of articles addressing these aspects of the issue to present the stuff we should be discussing that we aren't. Stay tuned.

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Topics:
net neutrality ,cloud ,regulation

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