The primary growth behind the internet isn’t the number of websites, but the growth of traffic within the invisible freeways it commands. The evolution of technology has enabled nearly every American to have access to the internet, but at a price. As the number of users grew so did the volume of traffic, which like a highway, eventually needs speed limits. These speed limits were imposed during the prior administration with the intent of making the internet equally accessible to all users. Many have complained that the utility-like regulations have hindered competition and limited the entrance of new technology.
Data compiled by Internet Live Stats estimates that there are over 3.7 billion internet users worldwide, with nearly 287 million in the United States. As a percentage of population, the U.S. ranks 40th in internet users internationally, with roughly 88% of Americans having internet access. Scandinavian countries have among the highest percentages of users, with Denmark at 96.9% and Iceland at 100%. Many have argued that unnecessary regulations and minimal competition have limited additional users in the U.S.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in November to repeal 1930s era utility style regulation called Title II which has put at risk online investment and innovation since it was enacted in 2015 by the prior administration. The FCC plans to encourage a free and open internet by promoting broadband deployment in rural American towns and new infrastructure investments throughout the nation. The FCC outlines that it will honor and expand on the four “Internet Freedoms” implemented in 2004; freedom to access lawful content, freedom to use applications, freedom to attach personal devices to the network, and freedom to obtain service plan information. (Sources: Internet Live Stats, Federal Communications Commission)