The debate framed around net neutrality ignored the larger issues of corporate centralization and monopolies.
I used to have a group of friends with whom I would go out to dine on occasion. Because the income levels of those in the group were higher than mine, issues often arose. They were prone to choosing more expensive establishments, and ordering higher quantities of more expensive foods than I would have. And to conclude these meals they would suggest we split the bill evenly to make it easier.
Eventually I decided I shouldn’t go out and eat with them anymore unless I was prepared to throw away some extra income, as opposed to trying to subvert their heinous system.
Now imagine your grandmother, a penny-pinching pensioner who only has the internet so she can talk with her family on Facebook. She doesn’t have Netflix, and in fact, she uses no streaming services whatsoever. Her internet usage is minuscule.
However because of net-neutrality she was forced to split the cost of the internet evenly, even though she uses less. She was subsidizing other users who paid the same but used more.
Instead of arguing that the internet should be completely non-subsidized, I am going to suggest local single-payer networks.
It doesn’t matter what laws our federal government passes. The laws always end up working out for the corporations who sponsor that network of bureaucrats and tyrants. Net-neutrality was a battle between those corporations to have their own services subsidized by the others, and the new laws are, too.
What would really stick it to the bastards is if each community created their own internet service provider based on local tax revenue and then offered the service to everyone within their community. Or even better yet, instead of a single payer universal service funded by taxes, communities might choose to operate automated production facilities to fund their internet, and other community services.
On a large scale and when centralized, we have seen the disastrous outcomes of communism. Instead of having global corporations, if communities were corporate entities producing and trading services and goods, then the issues of centralization and monopolies could be tamed.
To begin that social experiment with the internet itself is a perfect place to start.
The repeal of net-neutrality is not the end of the internet. Yet if we use this opportunity to discuss radically new solutions, rather than bemoaning current events, we might discover that none of the good solutions have even been tried yet and still remain at our disposal when we are clever enough to create them and brave enough to test them out.