The FCC derives its authority from the Federal Communications Act, and the law does not say anything about the power to tell internet providers how they can or can’t distribute content. If there is really going to be a net-neutrality mandate, it would have to come from Congress.
Net neutrality is the principle that internet providers should make all content available at the same speed. That doesn’t mean loading Netflix on a 25-megabits-per-second connection just as quickly as on a 100-megabits-per-second connection; it means treating Netflix and Hulu the same on whichever kind of connection a consumer has.
True net neutrality can’t be achieved. Multiple factors affect content delivery speeds, and regulations can’t ensure across-the-board equality. A start-up streaming service could theoretically match Netflix and Hulu; in practice, however, a start-up can’t fix bugs and update software rapidly enough to keep pace.
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The regulation is a solution in search of a problem. The internet worked just fine before the Democratic-controlled FCC passed the net-neutrality regulation in 2015, and it will work just fine after the rule is repealed. That’s because internet providers understand that it is in their own interests to maintain a level playing field.
Could Comcast, a part-owner of Hulu, artificially slow down Netflix? Sure. But it wouldn’t do that because it wouldn’t risk losing Netflix users to Verizon. The real threat here is competition between big companies and small ones. Small companies face so much obstacles already that the last thing they need is for larger competitors to be able to buy faster delivery speeds that they the start-ups, cannot afford.
So, are there laws to protect them? Will there be laws in future? One can never be sure because small businesses are often overshadowed by large corporations and conglomerates. Sure, they may not generate as much revenue individually as large corporations but they’re vital to the success of our economy. There’s more commerce and trade variety now than in the past.
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