Rob Pegoraro, Yahoo Finance:
FCC chairman Ajit Pai repeatedly emphasized that eliminating the rules would help smaller ISPs in particular bring competition to the market. “They told us that these rules prevented them from extending their service because they had to spend money on lawyers and accountants,” he said in a June 2018 statement.
A year later, the bargain looks unfulfilled. Evidence remains scant of ISPs saving money from this regulatory rollback, or working to give consumers faster or better broadband options. But they also don’t seem to be using their new power, much less abusing it.
On the other hand, we haven’t seen telco execs indulge their dreams of surcharging sites.
It’s no surprise that promises of increased investment aren’t panning out, but Pegoraro’s claim that we haven’t seen abuses of power isn’t accurate. Comcast announced that its Netflix competitor would be free of charge for TV service subscribers. AT&T is set to launch deeply creepy behavioural advertising as a direct result of the demise of net neutrality and ISP privacy laws thanks to this woeful FCC.
These moves may not exactly match that dystopian mockup of future internet plans, but they’re just as detrimental to consumer choice, cost, and privacy — AT&T and Comcast are just more subtle.