On Net Neutrality

Net neutrality rules prohibit cable companies from blocking or slowing delivery speed of Internet content and services -- particularly those that might happen to compete with properties that they own. Consumer and free speech advocates believe that net neutrality rules are necessary to ensure that internet providers don't abuse their power. For example, in 2008 Comcast was caught reducing the speed of Internet connections that used peer-to-peer file sharing networks. Though they initially denied their so-called “throttling” policy, they eventually admitted it and were forced by government order to end the practice. And in 2012 AT&T surreptitiously restricted Apple’s FaceTime video-chat service on its cellular network to users who had purchased more expensive data plans. While consumers widely support net neutrality, service providers generally oppose it because they have to treat all users the same regardless of their data consumption. Extra heavy usage can force providers to invest in expensive upgrades that cut into their bottom line.
In 2015 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted the Open Internet Order in which Internet service providers were banned from discriminating against different types of traffic or charging big Internet companies like Netflix and Amazon for the privilege of having their content delivered by higher speed connections. Having been enacted and maintained by popular public support, net neutrality laws are nevertheless under constant attack from corporate service providers and politicians alike. Service providers are opposed to the laws on principle and many Republicans believe the government’s rules are onerous and reduce innovation and investment in infrastructure. (2016 Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz campaigned on a repeal of the Order saying that net neutrality was "Obamacare for the Internet.") Consumers counter that loosening the rules will shift the balance of power to Internet providers, resulting in higher prices and fewer service choices. The future of the Open Internet Order is perpetually in doubt since the legislation can conceivably be overturned every time control of the White House switches parties.
Current FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, described as an old-school free-market conservative and someone who "never met [...] a public safeguard he didn't try to undermine," favors the dismantling of net neutrality. He believes the FCC overstepped its authority when it reclassified broadband as a public utility and has signaled that he has no intention of enforcing the rules. Pai claims that his concern “is that, by imposing those heavy-handed economic regulations on Internet service providers big and small, we could end up disincentivizing companies from wanting to build out Internet access to a lot of parts of the country, in low-income, urban and rural areas, for example.” Pai points to statistics which show a correlation between the Open Internet Order and a decrease in service provider investment in infrastructure. But it is regulatory uncertainty, which is most likely to blame. Service providers are highly sensitive to regulatory uncertainty that can put their investments at risk. There's a case to be made that when the veil of uncertainty surrounding the regulations is lifted -- regardless of the outcome -- past patterns of infrastructure investment will return. 
Federal laws consider issues affecting the greater good of society. The need of citizens to have fair access to the basic modern commodity of Internet access must be balanced against the needs of the service providers to make a profit. But history shows that when corporations operate in a lax regulatory environment, abuses of the public trust occur and those who are least able to fight unjust corporate policies suffer the greatest economic and social harm. Further, that same history shows that when responsible government controls are in place to prevent abuses, companies with a solid business model always find a way to make respectable profits. Net neutrality has always been, and should continue to be, a concept warmly embraced and protected by those who write the policies that guide this vital public utility.