Losing net neutrality hurts economy

Protecting internet freedom helps small businesses, consumers access all content equally at same speed



Muhammad Abdulqaymov, junior global politics major, said net neutrality helps small businesses grow which is better for the economy than large corporations having a monopoly Tuesday in Fulmer Hall.

KADE RUSSOM, Evergreen columnist

Net neutrality used to oversee internet service providers’ control over the content they allowed users to access, but its repeal has created debate over how much of the internet is free.

Under net neutrality, the content of the internet is freely accessible and companies must allow unbiased access to all of it. Similar to water or electricity, the only difference in services is cost.

Net neutrality thereby keeps providers from favoring certain businesses and groups while neglecting others. To keep them from killing off threatening competitors to their company, they are forced to improve their own products to keep up.

“I think we should give the opportunity for smaller businesses to start up in the same kind of environment as the big companies once did,” said Muhammad Abdulqaymov, a WSU junior global politics major.

Losing net neutrality gives these companies a chance to abuse their power and we should look to reform the law and not just reinstate it as has been done in Washington.

Lacking appropriate restraints, reincarnations of the monopolies and trusts of early 20th-century U.S. economics are sure to rise. These concentrations of economic power can strangle new businesses and consumers by charging exorbitant fees for services or products only available through a select few corporations.

Monopoly kills both the innovation and competition a free market thrives on and must be actively thwarted by government intervention.

For internet service providers, the strength of net neutrality prevented these monopolies from forming.

“Smaller companies could develop, which is much better for the economy than bigger companies monopolizing,” Abdulqaymov said.

This concept is what the establishment of net neutrality was based on.

The original intent of the net neutrality regulation in 2005 was to “preserve and promote the vibrant and open character of the internet as the telecommunications marketplace enters the broadband age,” according to FCC document 05-151A1.

In 2015, it was reclassified by the FCC as a “common carrier service” so as to give the public equal distribution and access. Yet in 2018 the FCC reversed its 13-year stance.

It could be surmised that Ajit Pai, a Republican-appointed FCC chairman under the Trump administration, was at the heart of this change. It was an act conducted for greed and political gain more than anything else.

But there are changes being made worldwide to how officials address internet economics, so perhaps there is more than greed in it for the FCC.

Article 13 of the European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, commonly known as the meme ban, has received a great deal of attention in the media.

Approved by the European Parliament on Sept. 12 of this year, this law calls for a more thorough system of searching for copyrighted material. However, memes are considered parodies and should be safe under the directive.

It’s piracy websites that are in much more peril.

By 2022, $52 billion is predicted to have been lost to piracy, $11.6 billion in the U.S. alone, according to an article by Digital TV Europe.

With increased scanning for copyrighted imagery, this projection could be severely diminished.

Policy toward internet economics is changing and its infrastructure is in need of an update. The complete loss of net neutrality might be bad for consumers and small businesses, but opens up a discussion about how best to adjust federal control and interaction with the internet.

Net neutrality isn’t just a stance to allow free and equal distribution — it’s one that prevents increased governmental regulation through new legislation of the system. Net neutrality is a functional concept and getting rid of it completely will hurt the free market in the long run.