It looks like Wheeler will probably be stepping down from the FCC. How as a concerned citizen can we stop the large broadband companies from putting data caps and tiers on our internet service. We as Americans already pay more for megabyte than any other country in the world. What are some of the tools we have to encourage change in the right direction?

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    Well, one option I never heard discussed is, start your own Internet provider and have no caps. Google did it (though I don't know if they use caps)
    – user4012
    Nov 15, 2016 at 17:44
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    I wish I had the capital to do it! What would be involved in actually do this?
    – Calvin
    Nov 15, 2016 at 17:46
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    Switching your end-user ISP is only a partial solution. A local ISP needs to rent peering capacity from the companies which control the large internet backbone connections. Without net neutrality rules, these could also throttle or prioritize individual connections depending on payment. They won't ask the consumers to pay extra but rather the large websites to get served faster.
    – Philipp
    Nov 15, 2016 at 18:37
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    @Calvin there recently was a legislation in the European Union to ensure net neutrality. The future will tell what effect it will have.
    – Philipp
    Nov 15, 2016 at 19:46
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    Civilian rights groups like Avaaz and Change.org routinely rally up big crowds in favour of protecting the internet; a simple option would be to follow them, join in and help spread the message (for example, Avaaz played a big part in that EU legislation). Nov 18, 2016 at 6:07

2 Answers 2


The nature of Networking and the Internet makes the practical concept of net neutrality nothing more than a buzzword. For one net neutrality would mean that a network could not protect its systems from attacks by shutting out certain bad actors since they would be entitled to a fair share of bandwidth on any network just as any normal actor. And a network needs to be able to take the steps to provide for its customers a service that is useful to them.

The best thing you can do to ensure no caps is to only purchase service from Vendors that offer quality unlimited service with a guarantee. Even if it cost more. And do everything you can to avoid providing any income to those companies that operate in a manner that is opposed to your beliefs. So for instance: if you are against Comcast but Comcast is the primary service provider for your area, and you choose to use an alternative cable internet provider you are still providing income to Comcast since they get Line fees and other charges. Instead choose service that uses an alternate delivery service that does not operate in a way that you are opposed to. Eventually when enough people do this then the companies that do perform well grow and provide better services. But if you keep rewarding bad actors because they are the best option, they keep doing what they are doing.


There's a simple way to protect it: start building support to pass laws through Congress.

One of the problems with Net Neutrality as it exists now, is that it was a hallmark of the Obama presidency to repurpose existing laws and regulatory bodies to achieve things through regulation. It could very well be that Ajit Pai is simply repealing them because he disagreed with how it was done. Remember, even Tom Wheeler initially balked at doing it through Title II.

The funny thing here is that there's some growing consensus that some regulations would be OK (strangest of all from AT&T itself). But Title II has two problems

  1. There's no limiting principle inherent in Title II. The FCC can ostensibly write any regulations it likes and, while courts would strike some of them down, that becomes a costly and time consuming proposition. Those costs will be passed on to consumers.
  2. FCC regulations can be overturned fairly easily

So how could legislation succeed here?

  1. Identify the parts of Title II that people want to keep. I find most people couldn't tell you what this involves beyond "Don't block Google" (seriously, this seems to be the top argument for it right now, despite the fact that such moves have not happened to Google). Net Neutrality needs a coherent set of goals (and goals that are not built around bad things that might happen)
  2. Build a consensus around the goals. The FCC moves side stepped this part of the process.

At this point, people get cynical about Congress, but it's worth noting that Congress can, and does, still pass laws (i.e. meaningful patent reforms have been passed). Meaningful laws would be the best way to go.

  • But how do we prevent the large corporations that dominate the Broadband market from lobbying congress to protect their interests instead of the interests of the the people while those companies are throwing millions of dollars at them, or potentially their opponents for opposing theim? Jul 17, 2017 at 19:14
  • @SoylentGray as the man said "a republic, if you can keep it."
    – user9389
    Jul 17, 2017 at 20:16
  • @SoylentGray Right now I would say Software Patents are a far greater threat to the Internet than Net Neutrality. What's holding that up? Companies. But, slowly but surely, laws are changing in response to problems. The process is far from perfect, but it does often work over time. Why do you think activism is so important to any issue?
    – Machavity
    Jul 17, 2017 at 20:38
  • That does not answer my question. Jul 17, 2017 at 21:44
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    "but it's worth noting that Congress can, and does, still pass laws" = citation needed. :)
    – user1530
    Jul 18, 2017 at 2:41

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