In general, the U.S. ranks below many third world countries in the speed, quality and cost of Internet access. If you ask your neighbors what they think about the price, speed and customer service of their internet provider , you will generally not get a positive answer. My brother lives in Europe and his internet connection is 50 times faster than mine is here and he pays less than half of what I pay. That is a 100 to 1 ratio.
Some cities have attempted to fill this vacuum by building their own network for Internet services. While the number is small (about 750 cities) compared to the number of cities in the U.S., cable companies are not happy about the competition.
Therefore, it falls on the FCC to protect those cable company’s interests by saying that local community owned Internet services are a threat to free speech. Really, FCC commissioner Mike O’Reilly actually said that in a speech.
As is often the case with Washington, he gave zero evidence to support that claim. That is a big surprise. But at least a few people will believe him.
Recently the FCC reversed its own net neutrality regulation saying that it didn’t have the authority to issue the order and when 38 states started issuing similar orders, it said that the states didn’t have the authority to do that, only it had that authority. Confused? Me too.
So now the FCC is saying that when local cities work to solve local problems (poor or non-existent internet services, it is a threat to the First Amendment.
The only remote connection is one university paper that says the same thing, also with no evidence. The issue at hand is the pretty universal statement in almost all ISP’s terms of service that say that they can kick you off the network if you threaten violence or spew hate speech. The Pittsburgh synagogue shooter used an online service called Gab to promote the killing of all Jews and, not surprisingly, Gab’s ISP kicked it off when the fact became public and threatened its reputation. Paypal refused to process its credit card transactions and its domain name provider won’t host it’s domain. None of these are community run, but I don’t hear the FCC whining about them. In fact, as of today, no ISP is willing to host them and they are off the air for now. ISPs create terms of service that reflect community norms and have the ability to drop customers who violate those standards.
What is not clear is why the FCC is so anti-consumer at this point. It kind of makes you wonder if there is money involved. And not in a good way. Information for this post came from Motherboard.