Trump delivers another blow to net neutrality

Does net neutrality really hinder innovation? The Trump Administration seems to think so.
2 October 2018

US President believes net neutrality hinders innovation. Source: Shutterstock

It seems as though every time America takes a step towards net neutrality, the motion is defeated by communications service providers, big businesses, or political interests.

Recently, in the state of California, Governor Jerry Brown signed a net neutrality bill prohibiting internet service providers from stratifying users and websites by who can pay for faster surfing speeds and service.

In response, The Trump Administration moved a federal court in Sacramento, California, to request that the bill — the state’s attempt to facilitate open access to the internet — be quashed.

According to Bloomberg, if the law stands, broadband providers such as Comcast and AT&T will be blocked in the state from slowing traffic on their airwaves while charging consumers for faster access.

The Trump Administration, which supported new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) efforts to dismantle net neutrality measures set up in 2015, claimed that Governor Brown’s efforts ”second-guess” the government’s regulatory authority over internet providers.

“States do not regulate interstate commerce — the federal government does. Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy,” said US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

California, however, is neither the first nor the only state to have enacted its own net neutrality rules. It has merely joined Washington, Oregon, and Vermont in formulating its own, in order to uphold the rights of its residents.

“While the Trump Administration does everything in its power to undermine our democracy, we in California will continue to do what’s right for our residents,” said California Senator Scott Wiener.

Is America against net neutrality?

Not really. Well, Trump Administration, though not in favor of net neutrality, believes it is supporting innovation in the country.

According to the 12-page complaint, the FCC determined, after careful study, that net neutrality measures put in place in 2015 hinder innovation and that the costs and investment required for innovation outweigh any benefits they may have.

Thus, their elimination, America’s current government believes is more likely to encourage broadband investment and innovation, furthering the goal of making broadband available to all Americans and benefitting the entire Internet ecosystem.

However, those in favor of net neutrality believe that companies shouldn’t be given the power to determine access — not only will this give them undue advantage, control, and influence over content that is available in a particular area, but also incentivize them to focus on urban areas and ignore development of infrastructure in rural areas.

For now, it seems as though net neutrality is a difficult proposition in America, although regulators in the EU and other parts of the world are beginning to see it as a non-negotiable criterion for a free market.