It’s been one year since the controversial net neutrality rules were repealed by the FCC. Many net neutrality proponents believed that this would spell the end of the internet as we knew it. However, upon closer examination, we find that the internet has actually improved since the regulations were relaxed.
Prior to the repeal of net neutrality, there was a lot of hysteria surrounding the issue. People genuinely believed that without government intervention, all the online services we enjoyed would disappear. This sentiment was widely accepted as truth, despite the fact that these services were already in existence before net neutrality rules were implemented.
The panic continued as organizations like the ACLU warned that without net neutrality, we would be at the mercy of powerful telecommunications giants. However, none of these dire predictions actually came true, highlighting the exaggeration and absurdity of the push for net neutrality rules.
Net neutrality aimed to define the internet as a public utility, subject to regulatory oversight. This meant that internet service providers were required to provide equal connection speeds to all websites, regardless of content. Prior to net neutrality, providers had the freedom to offer different connection speeds and even charge extra for faster speeds on certain websites.
Supporters of net neutrality believed that this was a necessary measure to prevent internet service providers from abusing their power. They saw it as a way to protect consumers from excessive charges. However, the reality is that market forces were already responding to consumer demand, and consumers had the freedom to choose which services and providers to use.
Comparisons to the railroad industry, which was regulated as a public utility, remind us of the negative consequences of such regulation. The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), created to regulate railroads, ended up stifling innovation and progress. It took the abolition of the ICC for the industry to recover and flourish again.
Contrary to the warnings of net neutrality advocates, the repeal of net neutrality has actually led to positive outcomes. Internet speeds have increased by nearly 40 percent since the repeal, as service providers have been allowed to expand their infrastructure without regulatory barriers. This is good news for both companies and users.
While some publications have reluctantly admitted that none of the dire predictions came true after the repeal, they still cling to the belief that an unregulated internet is not truly free. However, the evidence suggests that less government regulation leads to better outcomes for both companies and consumers.
We should keep this in mind the next time we’re told that lack of regulation will bring about the end of the world. The reality is that freedom from excessive government regulation often leads to positive results. The internet is a prime example of this.