Net Neutrality and the Future of the Open Internet
We’ve gone on record as being in support of net neutrality many times. We were there cheering with the rest of ’em in 2015 when the FCC reclassified ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, making them subject to regulation.
That 2015 order also imposed the practice of net neutrality across all US-based internet providers. They’re allowed to slow down internet service to facilitate “reasonable network management,” and not for any other purpose. Under the terms of the order, your ISP can’t provide you with a higher-cost option to give you a faster and more reliable connection to, say, Netflix.
Net neutrality does away with the concept of so-called internet “fast lanes”, and ensures that all traffic is treated equally. And, in our opinion, fairly!
The internet is just really a bunch of tubes. You should never have to pay more to receive data from one provider through a tube that’s been greased with data butter, when there’s an equally girthy, equally capable un-greased tube sitting right next to it. Net neutrality levels the playing field and gives everyone on the internet an equal chance at success.
What the FCC’s order did not address was the concept of “zero rating,” the idea that ISPs could exempt their own services from their own data caps. We hate zero rating. It’s a sneaky end-run around net neutrality that managed to slip through the cracks of the original order, and it’s gained a foothold with residential ISPs and wireless service providers here in the US.
Instead of charging you more to access a competing streaming video service like Netflix, a provider like Comcast can simply exempt traffic from its own streaming service from counting toward your monthly Comcast data caps. It un-levels the playing field and is completely at odds with both the spirit and intent of the FCC’s original net neutrality order.
Last year we co-signed a letter to the FCC encouraging them to hold open hearings on zero rating’s legality. A letter that, we suspect, now sits pinned to a dartboard in the FCC’s breakroom.
Last week the FCC officially dropped its investigation into the practice of zero rating in a terse press release that puts into question its commitment to the foundations of net neutrality.
One thing that won’t be changing is DreamHost’s steadfast belief that net neutrality is crucial to the growth and survival of the internet as we know it.
We believe that innovation on the internet can only flourish and prosper under the promise of an open system. We pledge to fight for the continued protections that were the promise of net neutrality and will oppose consumer-hostile practices like zero rating whenever we can.
We will continue to stand with others in the tech world to fight any attempts to remove the protections granted by the FCC’s earlier net neutrality ruling and to keep the best interests of our users (and the internet at large) at the forefront of everything we do.