President Trump Could Spell the End of Net Neutrality

Nov 22, 2016

If you're AT&T or Comcast, you might like the sounds of Donald Trump's transition team. But if you are a small content creator or someone who likes a wide range of services being available through your ISP, you probably aren't going to like it much at all.

That's because the two advisers who President-elect Donald Trump named to help oversee his telecom policy agenda at the Federal Communications Commission are not friends of net neutrality. And they are likely to have a lot of sway over future FCC policy.

Jeff Eisenach is an economist who once worked for Verizon, and Mark Jamison used to be part of Sprint’s lobbying team. Both men have written about how they are not in favor of net neutrality rules, which keep Internet service providers from giving preferential treatment to certain forms of online content or services.

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Eisenach, in particular, has been a vocal opponent of net neutrality as co-chairman of consulting firm National Economic Research Associates. He once called net neutrality rules "crony capitalism," arguing that imposing these rules would be "highly damaging" to the marketplace.

Many believe that AT&T and Comcast have already weakened the principle of net neutrality significantly by using features such as "zero rating," in which services they own or have licensed don't use up any bandwidth or data when users access them.

Net neutrality: Who wins, who loses?

The FCC has said it is monitoring these kinds of efforts, and net neutrality defenders have pushed for more action to stop them from happening. But a Trump administration could make it even easier for them to give up any pretense of adhering to net neutrality rules at all.

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