The FCC has redefined what it means to offer broadband Internet for services within the United States. In 2010, the standard for broadband was set at 4 Mbps download speed and 1 Mbps upload. Today, most service providers offer well above that, but consider it premium service. The Internet of today is much different than it was in 2010, with bits upon bits of content stacked on every webpage. With the FCC’s new plan, 25 Mbps download speed with 3 Mbps upload will be the new standard by which service providers can call themselves broadband. With this new definition, the FCC has found that around 55 million Americans- 17 percent of the population- do not have access to broadband. The FCC wants to redefine services providers as agents of a “telecommunication service” making it more of a utility than a informational service. The United States, despite being the country that invented the Internet, is currently 26th in the world in Internet speeds, just above Romania.
Also, on Feb. 26, the FCC will vote on a new net neutrality proposal that will ban providers from throttling or changing service based on what information users want to access on the Internet.
There are few things in life I believe are more sacred than access to information. The Internet, or, more specifically for the every day users, the World Wide Web, holds all the information we as humans have ever conceived. From things as monumental as quantum physics, to something as trivial as Kim Kardashian’s new haircut. Every bit of it should be free to the public at a reasonable rate. While I am happy to see the FCC stepping in to save the Internet from private companies who’s intentions would be to lock it down only for them to dictate what information can be seen, my enthusiasm is curbed because the FCC is a government run organization. I’m no crazy Tea Party “the government wants to enslave white people” sympathizer, but I am a little bit weary of any one entity having so much power over all that information. Right now as it stands the FCC only plans to regulate the Internet to ensure providers maintain a better experience for their users. But, as the Internet ages, who knows where the industry will go. Every media company in the past has eventually fallen to big money providers, e.g. film, phone, radio. Hopefully the government stays true to the American people, and hopefully the Internet is the media outlet to buck the trend.
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