The end of net neutrality at the hands of der Drumpf and his plutocrats was one of the greatest single disasters to befall this country in recent history. It will have long term negative effects on the entire culture, increasing not only cost of access for normal people but also limiting what we can see and hear on the web. Or, as a recent article by John Nichols in The Nation put it, “Gutting Net Neutrality Is the Trump Administration’s Most Brutal Blow to Democracy Yet.”
But, dreadful as the situation is, we still have a chance to save the ‘net, or, if necessary, even replace it with something new and more democratic.
First, it is still possible to fight for net neutrality in the courts. And, in fact, a number of people and states are getting ready to do just exactly that. One of them, for example, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced that he will lead a multi-state lawsuit to stop the now thoroughly corrupted FCC in its tracks.
Second, if the Democrats can retake Congress then they could override the FCC. That may not be easy, but it is possible, and at least some activists are pinning their hopes on a newly Democratic legislative branch.
Third, and somewhat ironically, the over-reach of the telecommunications giants and its puppets in the FCC may sufficiently alienate enough people that they will seek alternatives. Google fiber is one such. Another is community owned broadband, where cities would offer their own competition to the Comcasts and Verizons of the world, and thus help keep costs down.
Finally, and perhaps most intriguingly, it might be that capitalism itself will be the undoing of the media monopolies. As the price of conventional Internet access goes up, consumers might seek quite radical alternatives—such as satellite Internet, so-called Mesh Networks that connect computers in an Internet-like network using wireless technology, and perhaps even packet radio.
Thus, there is a real possibility that by imposing their absolute will on the Internet, the great telecom giants will have, at last, totally, completely, and utterly…