Quantcast
Connect with us

Here’s how the Trump administration will make your internet service suck even worse than it does now

Published

on

The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked victory for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at 12 on an index where the current top threat is a Chinese economic "hard landing" rated 20 (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

Most talk about President-elect Donald Trump’s technology policies — or “the cyber,” as he calls them — has revolved around his takes on Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

However, there’s another key aspect of Trump tech policy that shouldn’t be overlooked: Net neutrality.

After being appointed as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission by President Obama, Tom Wheeler enacted a set of reforms to United States telecommunications policy that reclassified internet service providers as common carriers, thus allowing him to implement network neutrality restrictions on their activities.

ADVERTISEMENT

What is net neutrality? It’s basically the principle that all data sent across the web should be delivered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

That means, for instance, that if you’re streaming Netflix and your neighbor is streaming Hulu, there should be no difference in how your local ISP treats video from each service. Presuming that both services are up and running properly, data from Netflix should be sent to your house at the same speed at data from Hulu gets sent to your neighbor’s house.

This is important because it creates a level competitive playing field for businesses on the web. With net neutrality, Comcast isn’t allowed to cut a deal with Netflix to ensure that its videos take priority over Hulu videos during peak traffic hours, which means both services will be treated equally.

ISPs have traditionally opposed this rule because they want to make tiered services in which big-name companies can pay them extra money in exchange for preferential treatment for their data. Major tech companies including Amazon, Netflix and Google have traditionally supported net neutrality, because they don’t want ISPs to be given the power to charge needless tolls to access their customers.

Trump’s incoming administration plans to undo the Obama FCC’s net neutrality restrictions — in fact, Republican commissioner Ajit Pai has even crowed that net neutrality’s days are “numbered” with Trump in charge.

ADVERTISEMENT

If this happens, ISPs will try to offer established players special high-speed tiers that will help them maintain a permanent advantage over rivals — thus harming any upstart company that doesn’t yet have the deep pockets to pay ISP tolls.

This may not be the only way that the Trump administration will make your service suck even worse, either. By the looks of things, telecom lobbyists are already buttering up the administration to approve massive mergers such as AT&T and Time Warner, as well as Sprint and T-Mobile.

Sprint parent company SoftBank’s Trump-boosting post-election announcement about investing in the United States was widely seen as a bid to get on the president-elect’s good side to make him see a prospective merger with T-Mobile more favorably.

ADVERTISEMENT

And despite his stated opposition to the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger on the campaign trail, he’s already appointed Joshua Wright — a longtime proponent of massive corporate mergers — as a key antitrust adviser.

This is important because ISPs would have trouble definitively breaking net neutrality if there were a competitive landscape for internet services. At the moment, competition for high-speed internet in the United States is very weak, and any further mergers will only make it weaker.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Obama FCC killed potentially disastrous mergers between AT&T and T-Mobile, and between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. If a Trump administration signs off on those mergers with meager promises of “job creation” that Trump can boast about on his Twitter account, the internet in the United States worse off than ever before.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

New book details the way Russians funneled money through Trump’s real estate empire using a money laundering middleman

Published

on

In a new book, investigative reporter Tom Burgis details the shocking ways in which corrupt leaders used Russian "businessman" Felix Sater to conduct sketchy deals, including ones for President Donald Trump.

According to the Daily Beast, Kleptopia: How Dirty Money is Conquering the World reports the "terrifying" and true tale of overwhelming corruption, "clandestinely fusing their business interests, and forming alliances."

While corrupt leaders have spent decades "guzzling their nations' wealth," the rest of the world is struggling to keep such lawlessness in check.

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Lindsey Graham is in ‘deep trouble’ as he focuses on doing Trump’s bidding: report

Published

on

According to two polls out of South Carolina, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) is either trailing or barely hanging on with Senate seat on the line in November's election.

Forbes reports that Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison is trailing Graham by one point (45% to 44%) in a CBS news/YouGov poll of likely voters, and an internal poll from Harrison's campaign shows the incumbent Republican trailing 43% to 45%.

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

Republicans alarmed Trump may have given Biden a big assist before Tuesday’s debate: report

Published

on

As the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden looms, Republican insiders are worried that Trump's attacks on the former vice president will come back to haunt him after the president and his campaign spent months portraying Biden as decrepit and not up to the job of leading the country.

According to a report from the New York Times, the Trump campaign's history of posting highly-edited videos on social media of Biden appearing to fall asleep or forget his words are about to blow up on Trump's team when Biden takes the stage and goes one-on-one with the president.

Continue Reading
 
 
Democracy is in peril. Invest in progressive news. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free. LEARN MORE