The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Net Neutrality Should Be Repealed

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/19/2017 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,030 times Debate No: 105997
Debate Rounds (5)
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This is the debate schedule:

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Main arguments.
Round 3: 1st rebuttal
Round 4: 2nd rebuttal
Round 5: Closing statements

I believe net neutrality should be repealed. Change my mind. I hope to have a good debate.


I have accepted your debate.

I recently was debating over this same thing- on the other side- and the other debater changed my mind. I wish to spread on what I have learned through this debate.

Let the debate begin!
Debate Round No. 1


Recently, the FCC voted for net neutrality to be repealed, and I support this decision wholeheartedly. My reasons for this are as follows:
1. The repeal of net neutrality eliminates regulations on ISPs, helping that sector of the economy grow.
2. A lot of the worries advocates of net neutrality have are rather unrealistic or void of any economic sense.

Getting rid of net neutrality will get rid of a slew of harmful regulations on ISPs and help the free market take care of the internet, as it should. To see the effects this will have, we must examine what regulations occur under title II (AKA net neutrality).

Under net neutrality, ISPs must submit any ideas for a "new technology or business model" to the FCC. This regulation greatly hampers any upcoming innovation, harming the internet economy. This isn't even the least of it though. The FCC also has the power to "partially regulate the capital investment of existing companies" and decide what companies can enter the ISP market. Yes, the FCC can decide what companies can become ISPs, which means that this "monopoly" problem constantly brought up by opponents of the repeal is more likely to happen under net neutrality, considering that business-stifling regulation blocks potential new ISPs from entering the market. The American Action Forum states that this puts a trillion dollars of GDP and 2.5 million jobs under a "regulatory regime". Repealing net neutrality will get rid of these harmful restrictions and bring freedom back into the free market. This will take away barriers against innovation, barriers against investment, barriers against entry into the ISP market (which limits consumer choice), and to top it all off, by getting rid of excessive government regulation, we will be triggering authoritarians in the process. That is a win-win-win-win, and to reference Donald Trump, I am starting to get tired of all the winning.

Other regulations that will be destroyed under this repeal include the prohibition of paid priority. Paid priority is when ISPs "pay to have certain bits sent to computer screens at a faster rate than others" (Daily Wire). Smaller ISPs used to use this, giving them an advantage considering they had less materials but could pay money for better speeds. Net neutrality comes into play, preventing paid priority from happening, and keeping smaller ISPs (who ironically enough, are who net neutrality advocates claim to help) from having that fighting chance in the marketplace. Because of this, consumers are placed in a lose-lose situation, in which they must choose between higher costs, or slower internet. Getting rid of net neutrality will bring paid priority back into play, giving smaller ISPs the advantage they once had.

Considering that title II means the internet is a public telecommunications utility, the FCC also has power to levy taxes against ISPs. A 2014 study made the estimation that net neutrality regulations could result in as much as $45.4 billion lost in new ISP investments over the next 5 years. Tunku Varadarajan interviewed Ajit Pai, commissioner of the FCC, and gathered this:

"Among our nation"s 12 largest internet service providers," he told the audience, "domestic broadband capital expenditures decreased by 5.6%, or $3.6 billion, between 2014 and 2016." I ask him to elaborate. "As I"ve seen it and heard it," he says, "Title II regulations have stood in the way of investment. Just last week, for instance, we heard from 19 municipal broadband providers. These are small, government-owned ISPs who told us that "even though we lack a profit motive, Title II has affected the way we do business." "

By keeping net neutrality in place, we aren"t sticking it to the man. We aren"t attacking those greedy corporations. We are hurting the small ISPs by levying taxes against them and taking away their special advantages and no amount of Jimmy Kimmel tyrades can change that. Repealing net neutrality can bring the good changes these smaller ISPs need.

The worries of advocates for net neutrality are rather unrealistic. There are two main causes of concerns: ISPs will make you pay for certain websites, and ISPs will block access to certain websites or throttle speeds to certain websites.

A tweet from "Banksy" states the typical worries:
Twitter: $14.99 per month
Snapchat: $9.99 per month
Youtube: $19.99 per month
Netflix: $9.99 per movie
Google: $1.99 per search
"If you don't want to pay extra for your favorite sites you need to be supporting #netneutrality".

However, these claims are all false. Now if it wasn"t for the fact that there is a 99.99% chance those numbers are made up, that might just be a convincing argument. The only problem is that it is completely lacking of any economic sense. If an ISP actually made people pay two dollars for every google search, then people would be leaving that ISP in droves in favor of a ISP with better prices. This is due to the principle of competition, a great factor in capitalist economies when it comes to keeping prices low without government intervention. Of course, there is the argument that some people only have access to one ISP, meaning they have a monopoly and can do whatever they want. This is also false. If an ISP charged prices for access to certain sites, another ISP could go into the area offering better prices, meaning a great profit for them, and horrible losses for the other ISP. The first ISP then lowers their prices to compete, resulting in a win-win for consumers, who not only have multiple choices, but lower prices.

People also like to cite Portugal as an example for what the U.S. could be like without net neutrality, as they have you pay for certain packages like the social media package, the games package, or the music package. But what advocates of net neutrality don't know is that using Portugal as an argument for net neutrality is actually a pretty harmful idea, almost on the same tier as shooting yourself in the foot. Snopes put it best when stating: "The European Union"s Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) established net neutrality guidelines in 2015. Portugal is a member of the European Union, so its internet providers must comply." In other words, this apocalyptic, prepackaged, pay-to-play world we are told we are about to live in apparently happens under a country with net neutrality regulations.

Besides having to pay to access certain websites, another main worry of Net Neutrality advocates is that ISPs will "throttle" speeds to certain websites or block access to others. The only issue with this distressed vision is that these worries have no factual or historical backing. Ian Tuttle from the National Review makes notice of the fact that when the FCC first considered net neutrality in 2010, they could only name four instances of anticompetitive behavior, all of those being relatively minor. Not only that, but cell phone networks are not subject to net neutrality-esque regulations of any kind, and they don"t engage in such anticompetitive behavior. About a decade ago, Comcast attempted to "throttle" speeds (slowing down access) to certain data packets but were "pilloried in the court of public opinion" and quickly relented. There goes that concern!

To finish my arguments, I shall make an allusion to the past. In February 2015, Net Neutrality was enacted. I do not remember having to pay for certain websites and I do not remember hearing any stories about ISPs raising the prices of entry to certain websites. I have no worries about the future of the U.S. under a net neutrality-free market economy and because of that I can see of no reason but to vote in affirmation to this resolution.



Net Neutrality is the freedom of the Internet.
For my argument I have three reasons:
1. ISPs will have more control over the Internet without Net Neutrality.
2. Net Neutrality is the freedom of speech.
3. Without Net Neutrality, the Internet will be more expensive.

With Net Neutrality in place, ISPs can't control who goes in the fast lane or not. This makes certain that everyone surfs at the same speeds and nobody goes slower than anyone else. Without Net Neutrality, ISPs can control you and how fast your browser loads, which sites you can go to, how you operate... Without Net Neutrality, ISPs control everything.
The worst part is that you don't even know if your ISP is slowing you down. All ISPs can do anything and hide it.
"A widely cited example of a violation of net neutrality principles was the Internet service provider Comcast's secret slowing ("throttling") of uploads from peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P) applications by using forged packets. Comcast did not stop blocking these protocols, like BitTorrent, until the Federal Communications Commission ordered them to stop. In another minor example, The Madison River Communications company was fined US$15,000 by the FCC, in 2004, for restricting their customers' access to Vonage, which was rivaling their own services. AT&T was also caught limiting access to FaceTime, so only those users who paid for AT&T's new shared data plans could access the application. In July 2017, Verizon Wireless was accused of throttling after users noticed that videos played on Netflix and YouTube were slower than usual, though Verizon commented that it was conducting "network testing" and that net neutrality rules permit "reasonable network management practices"" (Wikipedia). ISPs blocking websites brings me to my second argument...

Repealing Net Neutrality violates the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
This should have forced the government to keep Net Neutrality in place, noting that repealing Net Neutrality is respecting that these ISPs can prevent many from reading the news, articles, forums, and statements made on the internet. Not only does repealing Net Neutrality go against freedom of speech, it goes against all of Amendment I. Stopping freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right for people to assemble, and petitioning the government for a redress.
This goes directly against the amendment, so even if there was any good to repealing Net Neutrality, our government can't do it.

With Net Neutrality replaced, ISPs can make you pay more for absolutely anything. For instance, an ISP could slow down everyone's traffic, resulting in hundreds of people paying more for a faster internet. With a slower internet, people using a browser for "quick awnsers" would come to an end. The internet would be greatly affected in ways nobody wants.
Another way for the internet to become more expensive is if an ISP forced you to pay to enter sites.
"Americans' average wealth tops $301,000 per adult, enough to rank us fourth on the latest Credit Suisse Global Wealth report. But that figure doesn't tell you how the middle class American is doing. Americans' median wealth is a mere $44,900 per adult -- half have more, half have less" (CNN). If ISPs started forcing you to pay, many Americans would have to stop using the internet.
Not to mention ISPs could start attempting to DDoS each other, fighting for a way to hack into an opponent's system. There, they could slow down all of their customer's internet traffic and block sites they go to. Hackers could also try to do this too, and create fraud ISPs to control others. Repealing Net Neutrality would open the doors to more internet crime, and affect how the internet works from now on. Therefore, I still stand by my argument that repealing Net Neutrality is a negative.
Debate Round No. 2


I believe that the con side does bring forth a plethora of convincing points, but within these points are flaws birthed by a lack of economic understanding. My opponent brought up the subject of ISPs making customers pay for anything. If an ISP, say Comcast (for example), decided to make you pay money to access certain websites, people would be ditching Comcast in droves in favor of an ISP that doesn't charge money for entry to certain websites. In my opponents third contention there are a lot of ifs, ands, buts, and whats but all of these worries are made invalidated by the free market. Basic economic theory states that consumers want the best quality product for the lowest price. Slow internet is a low quality product. If companies slow down internet, consumers leave them. If they raise prices, consumers leave them. They have these market incentives to keep good speeds and low prices so other ISPs don't beat them in the marketplace. This worry of ISPs making you pay for anything is completely unrealistic. We also must think about the point made by my opponent stating that ISPs could DDoS each other. However, there is something keeping ISPs from DDoS'ing each other, and it isn't net neutrality. It is the free market. Nobody has a reason to support an ISP that launches cyber attacks on other ISPs, so they will leave that ISP. Therefore, the ISP has an incentive to not engage in such anticompetitive behavior. These fears are ridiculous.

Not only that, but repealing net neutrality won't violate freedom of speech. If ISPs prevent people from reading the news, articles, forums, etc, then people will ditch that ISP. I hate repeating myself like a broken record but it is basic economic theory. Another thing we must consider is constitutionality. In that case, why aren't phone networks, who don't have net neutrality regulations being tried in the supreme court for unconstitutionality? Because they don't engage in anti competitive behavior, and the reason they don't engage in that speech-stifling behavior even though they don't have net neutrality regulations is because of basic economics (notice a theme?). From the time the internet was created to January 2015, the U.S. did not have net neutrality regulations, and no ISP made such free-speech-violating moves without being destroyed in the court of public opinion. They will always relent, so why do we need our government watchdogs constantly trailing these ISPs?

My opponent's first contention is that ISPs will gain control over the internet. This is false, and my reasoning for this is... the free market! Not surprising, eh? If anything, my opponents example of Verizon conducting "network testing" shows another flaw with net neutrality instead of helping his case. Net neutrality does permit "reasonable network management practices" and this story shows that certain ISPs could find loopholes through this flimsy law.

Overall, there is no reason to keep net neutrality. By keeping it, we are hampering innovation, unfairly levying taxes against ISPs, keeping new companies from joining the market, and stripping smaller ISPs of a valuable advantage. By getting rid of it, we won't be handing control of the internet to ISPs, violating the first amendment, or giving ISPs the ability to make you pay for internet services. We have no reason to keep net neutrality and a ton of reasons to repeal it. Because of this I urge you to vote in affirmation to the resolution.
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
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