It’s been a year since the repeal of net neutrality regulations (which only took effect recently in 2015), and the millions of Chicken Littles on the Left turned out to be wrong yet again with their doomsday predictions.
MSNBC called the repeal the “end of the internet as we know it.” Foreign Policy magazine warned that net neutrality’s repeal will “let power eat the internet.” The New York Post warned that the absence of net neutrality will change the way we use the internet forever. Propaganda outlet Russia Today predicted that in absence of net neutrality, people would have to pay to use social networks, may no longer be able to use Netflix, that websites would be legally censored, and more. GLAAD even warned that a lack of net neutrality would constitute an “attack” on the LGBT community, because why not.
If you were to ask someone on the street who doesn’t pay attention to politics how their internet experience changed over the past two years, do you think they’d be able to cite a single noticeable difference? Probably not, and on that note, it’s worth reviewing just how ridiculous all the doomsday scenarios we were told would occur look now in hindsight.
As we were told, without net neutrality, the internet would devolve into tiered pricing, whereas internet users would have to pay for services individually. Not only would we have to pay for internet, service providers would punish the internet’s most active users by charging them for individual services…. even though no internet service provider (ISP) has ever proposed pricing in such a way (and would likely require illegal collusion to implement).
Below is one such example of the baseless fearmongering, which was extremely common to see in the days leading up to net neutrality’s repeal.
Given the zero dollars it will cost to post this article to Twitter, we can consider the above claim debunked… and quite laughable.
Personally, I’m curious how such a myth could even gain traction. Net neutrality regulations didn’t take effect until mid-2015 – did everyone simply forget what the internet looked like before then? If ISPs wanted to implement tiered pricing, why wouldn’t they have done so before net neutrality? In this regard, net neutrality was a solution for a hypothetical problem there’s no reason to believe would materialize.
In one article cautioning against a net neutrality repeal, the author writes that “If a media conglomerate decided to stream a major sports event to all its customers, it may prioritize that bandwidth over other streaming content.” Regarding throttled internet speeds, the example you’ll always see cited as Exhibit A is Netflix. Back in 2014, Netflix and Comcast were in talks, with Comcast demanding payment in exchange for a promise to deliver movies smoothly to Netflix customers. Comcast throttled Netflix’s speed until Netflix caved to their demands, as you can see in the chart below. Netflix caved in February.
It must be pointed out here that net neutrality regulations still allowed ISPs to throttle content. Hence why we learned in 2017 (with net neutrality in effect) that Verizon had been throttling traffic on Netflix and YouTube. Nearly all mainstream publications refer to Verizon’s actions as an “apparent violation” of net neutrality – because net neutrality’s rules aren’t what they think they are.
And according to research from Northeastern University, the majority of ISP’s who have throttled content (and not all do) did so at the same rates before and after the repeal of net neutrality rules. In their words, “Our data shows that all of the US ISPs that throttle after June 11th were already using some form of throttling prior to this date. In short, it appears that US ISPs were ignoring the FCC rules pertaining to ‘no throttling’ while those rules were still in effect.” I only disagree with their assessment that there were actually “no throttling” rules in effect (as if they could be easily bypassed, is it even fair to claim they exist?).
So slow will the internet be without net neutrality, that we’ll only be able to post a single word at a time claimed the official Senate Democrats Twitter account.
When it comes to internet speeds as a whole, they’ve surged. When net neutrality’s repeal was announced, the U.S. had the 12th fastest broadband internet speed in the world. Just two months after the repeal took effect, speeds increased to the 6th in the world.
And now a year out, internet speeds are up nearly 40%. As the Washington Examiner reported; “A new report by Ookla, a sister company to PCMag, shows that download speeds have increased 35.8 percent across the country.” Upload speeds rose 27%. Both speed increases are attributable to the expansion of Gigabit internet connections (delivered over fiber optic lines).
One year out, the Senate Democrats Twitter account has no trouble making posts. They’ve even retained the ability to type multiple words at a time. A miracle indeed.
Now that a single doomsday prediction has failed to come true, at least liberals can finally admit that they were wrong all along about this issue, sit back, and relax a bit.