Already two months since its passing, the repeal of Net Neutrality is fully in effect, but has it caused any damage to a free, democratic society yet?
Since President Trump’s inauguration in office, “1,579 regulatory actions [have been] withdrawn or delayed.” The repeal of Net Neutrality was included in these deregulatory actions. The White House claims that for every regulatory act added, around twenty-two rules were terminated.
Typically, deregulatory actions made by administration remove restrictions on companies, promote the economic health of our nation, and allow for small businesses to thrive. However, the repeal of Net Neutrality can potentially be the antithesis of this goal. By removing restrictions on already monolithic internet service providers, will these companies expand their power and influence over what content their customers can access quickly and for the cheapest prices? Is this potentially putting small, start-up companies out of the race, and destroying the highly valued concepts of American capitalism and open-internet all in one foul swoop?
These fears are valid, but it is wildly important to understand that although the FCC has decided not to enforce the outdated 1934 regulations, that the FTC is taking up the responsibility to ensure that American businesses and consumers are not compromised by this act.
“The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers.”
This occasional resurgence of enthusiasm to remove regulations on the communication platforms utilized by the American society is not anything new. By looking back at the Telecommunications Act of 1966, which sought to allow anyone to enter the field of both radio and television, we see that this was an act to promote the American economy and boost capitalistic ideals, much like the intentions for repealing Net Neutrality.
The American people must now decide if they can rely on such a massive organization as the FTC to protect their right to free information, which is the foundation for a truly democratic society.