The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Title II, the answer to Net neutrality

Title II, the answer to Net neutrality

Net Neutrality

In the mid-1980s, NABU: The Home Computer Network rivaled AOL in delivering high-speed data. NABU delivered data over cable television lines at a then-remarkable speed of 1.5 megabits per second. While Home Computer Network delivered superior service, it relied on closed cable networks, whereas AOL attached its service to the open phone network service.

And after fierce competition, NABU failed and AOL succeeded. An enlightening experience for the former president of NABU and current Chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler realizes the importance of an open network for entrepreneurs and strongly advocates Title II.

So mark your calendars for February 26; the day that the Federal Communications Commission will vote on the FCC’s new Internet proposal confirming Title II under the Telecommunications Act as the answer to Net neutrality.

Net neutrality is the concept that Internet service providers should treat all data on the Internet equally. Title II represents the proposal by the FCC to safeguard Net neutrality from ISPs, to reclassify telecommunications companies – Verizon, Comcast, AT&T; – as common carriers.

When public utilities or private enterprises act as common carriers, the general public benefits because that principle means companies cannot discriminate among consumers or deny service. If you’ve flown through a public airline, made a telephone call, or been treated in a hospital, you’ve benefited from common carriage.

However, if you’ve ever dealt with the hassles of comparing cable television prices and packages, you’ve experience the headaches of uncommon carriage. Imagine a similar system that allows ISPs to offer you different packages. Maybe you’ll purchase the Social Media package that includes Facebook and MySpace, the Kids package that includes Disney and Minecraft, or the Adults package that includes … well, you know.

The strongest proposal submitted by the FCC to protect an open Internet, Title II would “ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services,” as outlined by Tom Wheeler’s opinion piece in Wired.

Title II appears to be the obvious path to guarantee a free and open Internet, however the proposal has sparked debate.

On one side, ISP’s and their supporters argue that Title II’s stern regulations would slow innovation and inhibit network investments. They contend that the proposal gives the government control over the Internet, raises costs, and decreases competition.

On the other side, Internet companies and basically the entire Internet supports that Title II would protect and ensure a fair and democratic Internet, preventing ISP’s from charging for fast lanes. The proposal would increase competition, increase innovation, and decrease costs.

Readers, you read the arguments correctly and I understand that it seems confusing considering that both sides argue the same points. Allow me to tackle the confusion and lay the issue out clearly.

First, we live in world filled with innovation. With or without Title II, innovators will continue to create new ideas and new inventions. Without the protection of Title II, these pioneers will have to worry about whether people will be able to send and receive their data. But with Title II, anybody with an idea for a website or an app can advance their ambitions without the hindrance by ISP’s.

If you watch Netflix, scroll through Tumblr, or sell merchandise on Etsy, you’ve benefited from the ideas of these once small entrepreneurs who had access to an open and free Internet. If you’ve post pictures on Instagram, explore Reddit, or watch videos on YouTube, you’ve benefited from the ideas of these once small entrepreneurs who had access to an open and free Internet. Basically, anything interesting or entertaining on the Internet started from the nearly nothing but grew to its popularity now because of a free network.

Second, Title II would increase competition despite the ISP’s claim that it would accomplish the opposite. The proposal allows for small start-ups to compete with the tech giants in Silicon Valley by allowing equal access and speed to companies of all sizes. Otherwise, access to the Internet would be determined by those who pay a premium in the fast lane while leaving the little guys in the slow lane.

Now tell me which side actually increases competition.

Third, simple microeconomics states that increased competition leads to lower prices. From my previous point, Title II allows for increasing competition, thus lowering prices for consumers. Again, this contradicts ISP’s claim that Title II would result in the opposite.

Fourth, opponents of Title II warn that the proposal foreshadows a governmental takeover of the Internet. Now that’s ridiculous. Anybody who believes so probably also believes that Al Gore invented the Internet. Title II symbolizes a shining beacon to Internet entrepreneurs and users. It doesn’t allow the government to usurp this frontier, but to protect it, the values it holds, and content that it provides.

Fifth, Sprint countered other ISP’s claim that the regulation would slow network investments. In a letter to the FCC, Sprint’s chief technology officer wrote that Sprint would continue to invest and expand its wireless networks as long as they were able to manage and differentiate their product. Additionally, if Title II is processed through, Google Fiber will be able to expand to more cities by allowing Google easier access to utility poles and related infrastructure.

To put Google Fiber into perspective, the FCC raised standard broadband services from 4 mbps to 25 mbps as published in its 2015 Broadband Progress report, SMU provides an average of 47 mbps, and Google Fiber provides 1000 mbps.

To provide and protect a free, open, and democratic Internet, Title II serves as the guardian of the Internet rather than allowing ISPs to become the gatekeepers. The future of the Internet lies with us, not the cable companies that wish to monopolize it. We are the vanguard, to preserve and progress this innovation’s promise for today, for next year, for the generations to come.

Let our elected officials know where we stand on Title II. Our Texas U.S. Senators are Senator John Cornyn (1 202-224-2934) and Senator Ted Cruz (1 202-224-5922) and our Texas U.S. Representative is Congressman Pete Sessions (1 202-225 -2231). Currently Senator Cornyn and Senator Cruz are against Title II while Congressman Sessions remains silent. Change their stances by letting them know that we demand a free and fair network.

Access to the Internet has been one of the most eminent and unifying gifts in our society. It is connecting persons from around the world, sharing information at lightening speeds, and assisting in evolving the modern world. No one can tell us what we can or can’t do with the Internet. Especially not the cable companies that wish to control the content and information we see. The Internet is an open field where all and sundry are able to access this wonderful resource that we’ve built.

The glories of the Internet belong to us. Let’s keep it that way.

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