Recently, and more importantly, consumers. Small content providers

Recently, the FCC voted to retract the net neutrality policies which they presented in 2015. This vote was clearly unethical and goes against the values of utilitarian ethics. Instead of concern for the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people, the FCC has only considered the greatest happiness—or in this case, the greatest profits—of a small percentage of the corporate realm consisting of greedy corporations. An article by Fortune states that a survey from the University of Maryland displayed that over 80% of Americans are against the FCC’s retraction of net neutrality regulations. In this paper, I will argue that the FCC’s decision to repeal the net neutrality regulations set by the Obama administration was unethical. With the FCC’s vote, internet service provider’s now have the power to block or slow access to online content; now the only rule is that they have to disclose how they manage that content. Internet service providers have come out as the biggest winners of this decision; they will now be able to start favoring their own content and services over the competition. Also, a potential winner of this decision is medium-sized content producers; ISPs will have more reason to purchase medium-sized content producers, consequently raising their value. On the other hand, internet TV services such as Netflix and large internet companies such as Google and Amazon are possible losers of this decision; both groups may find their content blocked or slowed, or be required to pay extra fees. In my opinion, the two biggest losers of this decision are smaller content providers and more importantly, consumers. Small content providers lose because they don’t have enough influence to protest any unfair treatment while consumers lose because they are the ones suffering from the slowed speeds of the content they wish to browse. I believe that this decision to repeal the regulations set by the Obama administration is unethical for many reasons. The first reason being that the decision does not seriously consider the views of consumers. Consumers correctly believe that they should be free to view and use any service of their choice at an equal price and speed as any other service; however, with the absence of net neutrality, this will become a problem. For example, in a remote area where there is only one service provider, let’s say Comcast, that service provider is free to charge any price they want, block any services they want, and throttle any services they want for the consumers in that area. The consumers in this remote area have no choice but to cooperate with Comcast’s decisions because there are no other service providers competing with Comcast in that area. To put this into perspective, an article by Vox states that approximately 50 million homes in the United States have just one high-speed internet service provider in their region. This means that 50 million homes in the United States will have no choice but to cooperate with the decisions of that one high-speed internet service provider in their region. According to The Verge, one of the two Democrats on the FCC, Jessica Rosenworcel stated that “this is not good; not good for consumers, not good for businesses, not good for anyone who connects and creates online.” The Verge also stated that the other Democrat on the FCC, Commissioner Clyburn, mentioned that the repercussions of the FCC’s vote are “particularly damning… for marginalized groups, like communities of color, that rely on platforms like the internet to communicate.” The FCC’s decision is clearly unethical and immoral; it is a decision which provokes internet service providers to do as they please. This decision has opened the door for internet service providers to potentially generate an internet for the elite while everyday consumers are left with subpar service for unreasonable prices.  The FCC’s decision goes against both Kantian and utilitarian ethics. The FCC is in no way fulfilling their moral principles and moral obligations, nor are they taking into account the greater good. After this decision, it is apparent that the FCC is flawed. The commission consists of 5 voters: 3 republicans and 2 democrats. This in itself is unfair; the commission should consist of an equal number of members from each party. I believe that the FCC’s integrity should be called into question because the FCC’s handling of the public comment period was entirely incorrect and appalling to the public. According to The Verge, both Rosenworcel and Clyburn disapproved of the FCC’s actions by stating that the commission operated improperly by overlooking millions of voices who were against the repeal. Commissioner Clyburn stated that “it is abundantly clear why we see so much bad process with this item: because the fix was already in.” She is explaining that it is apparent that the administration simply had no concern for any public opinion. Rosenworcel also explained that the FCC demonstrated a “cavalier disregard” in concerns to the public and a “contempt” for citizens voicing their opinions. According to Fortune, the FCC received approximately 23 million comments when they invited public comments on the upcoming vote. I believe that the FCC will most likely be hit with a lawsuit very soon because supporters of net neutrality are very content in their continued efforts to invalidate the repeal and restore the regulations introduced by the Obama administration.  Thus, the FCC’s decision has very important implications when it comes to our economy; it will have a negative impact on businesses and consumers. It also impacts our democracy as well because we fundamentally believe that all information should be treated equally and people should have access to open internet; once that is compromised, our economy and democracy will be impacted. 

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