United States – FCC Net Neutrality Repeal

December 14, 2017

United States – FCC Net Neutrality Repeal

Padmini Arhant

Internet is a common ground and a public domain. Life revolves around technology. Technology is an integral part of life. Technology has made life efficient and for many including myself, technology is fun and exciting with an opportunity to perform work from anywhere – home, office, during travel day or night. Technology’s usefulness is mostly derived from internet access. That being the case, the corporate control of cyberspace restricting and extending service of their choice that would affect vast majority of internet users is not a viable course.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision to repeal net neutrality favoring broadband i.e. the telecommunication companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast as well as internet companies such as Google, Amazon, Netflix and Facebook so on at overwhelming ordinary subscribers expense is infringement on average citizens rights and affordability in accessing internet, streaming video from Netflix and You Tube to name a few.

Net neutrality is critical for information flow without obstruction and selective channeling of traffic to sites and services that arguably creates conflict of interest and anti-trust law with major players dominance already stifling competition in a free market place. As such the lateral integration among telecommunication giants is the contemporary practice with various communication outlets from internet to television network acquisitions posing challenges to balance of power in the relatively vast field with maximum exposure to market share for them.

The net neutrality rules are meant to treat all internet traffic on equal basis barring Internet Service Providers (ISP) to block, slow down or provide preferential treatment to sites and services of their choice.

Furthermore, the rules are important for internet surfers and users to freely access the information highway without having to pay toll that would now be applicable at ISP’s discretion making internet the tool for corporate short-term profitability. In denying millions of internet visitors and regular users fair opportunity in addition to startups and several thousands of online companies from competing effectively, the current FCC plan could potentially suppress business advantage for anyone not in the same league as big corporations.

Anytime, regulations are shunned or eliminated enabling giant corporations to operate according to their policy that are always more profit oriented with the costs ultimately transferred in higher prices to end consumer or retail buyer, the trend invariably impact sustainability leading to inflation and sharp downturn in consumer buying power.

The FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s idea of attracting investment in the industry prompting such action evidently contradict the data considering the increase in investment in broadband expansion despite the rule in place.

Any regression in particular segment of this industry is not associated with net neutrality. As a matter of fact maintaining net neutrality for reasons explained above and in general benefitting entire users of cyberspace rather than specific corporations would promote enormous financial gains for all participants regardless of size and activity.

Since the broadband companies’ consumer base involves subscribers across the spectrum, the hierarchy in internet service set on different prices, speed and network reliability inevitably undermines bulk of the traffic presently represented in basic to premium category.

The FCC proposal to remove net neutrality based on investment prospects that are prevalent with net neutrality in effect along with faster and network dependability for more people is possible in extending unrestricted services to all not just the targeted groups on internet subscription. Another problem in this respect is FCC recommendation to have the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) resolve any issues between broadband operatives and users on any non-disclosures in access denial and price disputes could be prevented in adherence to net neutrality that avoids such occurrence. 

The broadband service identified as the telecommunication companies remaining as such is relevant and imperative with rules defining the role adapting Title II of the Communications Act necessary for efficient and convenient access to internet prohibiting discrimination in the information age.

In conclusion, net neutrality is paramount to guarantee consistent service and competitiveness in the market economy for users and e-commerce traders without having to confront corporate control of internet usage and monopoly in commercial interest.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

Author & Presenter PadminiArhant.com

Spouse in Divine Mission



Save the Nations’ Newspapers – OP-ED

April 9, 2009

Like everything else in this economy, the newspaper industry is on the brink of demise. The reasons according to the publishers are the competition from various sources ranging from the Information Superhighway to electronic gizmos producing data with the touch of a button.

The survival of the newspaper industry is paramount in a democracy. It is appropriate to pledge unequivocal support to print press as someone having grown up knowing the world events and current affairs through newspapers. Personally, the newspaper was a window to the outside world and enabled a better understanding of issues unfolding at home and elsewhere. The newspapers offer knowledge, awareness and critical thinking on different topics.

One might argue why subscribe to a newspaper when the same information is accessible on-line free of charge? Although, it is a valid argument, it still does not match the convenience of a newspaper in hand while traveling or commuting to work on public transport and reading in a relaxed manner at home without Google search and browsing Yahoo/AOL articles. Further, the conventional source relieves common stress caused by prolonged use of computers. It is a healthy diversion in a manner books remain popular over audio and video versions.

Some national as well as local newspapers’ editorials, columns and articles are praiseworthy on many issues concerning life. The investigative and independent journalists deserve special recognition for their contribution to humanity due to risks involved in the exposure of subjects that may or may not be challenged in legal terms and otherwise. Similarly, there are reporters providing vital information from war zones and remote corners of the world by endangering their lives. These veteran newsmakers cannot be isolated in this context.

However, it is essential to bring certain issues to the publishers’ attention that could rescue the dying industry. The lack of objectivity in few columns and news articles is one of them. In an era of idolization of political figures, some journalists traveling with public entities tend to edge over the professional ethics and present conflicting content of the same article from other mass media such as television particularly cable news network, international channels and the potent internet. Unfortunately, the authors of such articles fail to recognize the fact that any information from them is verifiable through other sources for authenticity and to an extent affect their credibility if proven false. When they represent a reputable news organization, the conspicuous flaw reveals the devil in the detail magnified on comparison with live images on-line and television. The general public prefer facts not fiction in a newspaper article related to public figures , government affairs and corporate activities.

Another factor behind the decline of the newspaper industry is the ideology driven concept not barring political affiliations and the pandering to the authorities in government and business rather than a neutral position in the presentation of facts to confirm fair and balanced reporting. The educated and technologically savvy mass justifiably turned off by the extreme views and polarization in the newspaper industry. If the internet sources blamed as the major threat to the print press, perhaps it is time for newspaper publishers to exercise the freedom of press and responsible journalism like their on-line competitors and dedicate service to people more than any others in a democracy.

Whenever the press and television newsmedia regardless of the status as mainstream or not assumes the role of personal talking points to the authorities in power, democracy is in jeopardy forcing majority population to seek alternative sources for reliable information. It defeats the purpose of free press in a democracy that prioritizes politics over people, when the primary focus should be accuracy, transparency and accountabilty in public matter.

As stated earlier in numerous blogposts on this website www.padminiarhant.com industries and government ultimately depend on the main street, as they are the consumers and voters with real power in a functioning democracy.

On that note, a sincere request to all citizens across the nation to salvage the local and favorite newspaper through subscription since the survival of newspaper industry means restoration of voice in a democracy.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant