Net Neutrality Under Donald Trump Gone? What Could Happen To Open Internet

It seems net neutrality under Donald Trump is about to end. There is a lot of speculation as to what that means as the new Chairman of the FCC has been a long-time opponent of the regulation.

Trump’s assigned head of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai is likely about to be the most hated man on the internet other than Donald Trump himself. Once a lawyer for Verizon, one of the most expensive internet and cellular providers in the nation, he’s been opposed to the idea of an open internet since its inception.

What is net neutrality, you may be asking? It’s the idea that all content you see on the internet is free from restriction. Your ISP cannot charge you extra for using Facebook and CNN, or checking out the latest Instagram posts while you watch YouTube. The common belief, as revealed by Last Week Tonight‘s John Oliver, is that the end of net neutrality means that Comcast will start charging extra to access different kinds of websites. This might not be the case, but with a former lawyer for Verizon in the process of dismantling it alongside other mainstays like the Affordable Care Act, Ajit is likely to start allowing ISPs to run their services in a way which makes them more money.

Obamacare is another thing Trump's administration is aiming to eliminate.
Obamacare is another thing Trump's administration is aiming to eliminate. [Image by J Dennis/Shutterstock]

This likely means that cheap internet will no longer be an option and you could be billed for accessing a variety of websites. Liberals have been dreading this day from the beginning, and even started a movement back when Barack Obama was about to approve it himself. There was a day called the “internet blackout,” when various sites like Wikipedia swapped the home page for a static page explaining what could happen if net neutrality was eliminated.

We will likely see that happen again soon if fears over Ajit Pai’s actions come true. ZD Net states that Ajit’s first agenda is to end the freedom to visit the sites you want on mobile devices. His statement sounds good at first, they claim.

“[The] Federal Communications Commission will not focus on denying Americans free data. Instead, we will concentrate on expanding broadband deployment and encouraging innovative service offerings.”

ZD Net goes on to say that business mergers between, for example, AT&T and DirecTV could result in a slowing of any streaming services the providers don’t own themselves. They may charge extra for streaming PlayStation Vue or Netflix. They speculate that proprietary charges are coming.

Firefox creator Mozilla says the new FCC chair Ajit Pai spells doom for the open internet.
Firefox creator Mozilla says the new FCC chair Ajit Pai spells doom for the open internet. [Image by Evan Lorne/Shutterstock]

Mitchell Baker, founder of Mozilla and its selection of free internet browsers, has stated that “zero-rating” would no longer apply to the entire internet. It would turn exclusive and would damage the very health of the internet.

Only one remaining FCC commissioner is a Democrat, and Mignon Clyburn calls what Ajit is doing unlawful.

“It is a basic principle of administrative procedure that actions must be accompanied by reasons for that action, else that action is unlawful. Yet that is exactly what [has been] done today. The [FCC] Bureaus rescind prior Bureau actions by simply citing a rule that allows them to do so when in prior invocations of that rule there have been oft-lengthy explanations for the reasoning behind the actions.”

Dane Jasper, the CEO and co-founder of the low-income cellular provider Sonic, claims that while the major providers will profit, the smaller ISPs will drop due to the lack of deals made with different services, according to Network World. There could be heftier data caps on services that the ISPs don’t own.

If you’re a gamer or a 4K TV streaming fanatic, you might notice your internet starting to slow down if your ISP doesn’t own the service. Of course, so far this is all speculation based on observations throughout the industry, and it might not have much actual impact.

[Featured Image by kentoh/Shutterstock]