If you give much attention to the tech world or news in general, you have probably heard the phrase “Net Neutrality”. More specifically, you may have heard that the F.C.C. (Federal Communications Commission) has recently repealed Net Neutrality. However, in an age where everyone has a voice and no one has the time, you may have skipped that article. I am here to tell you about the controversy surrounding Net Neutrality and why you should care about it- hopefully in 2000 character or less.
The phrase “Net Neutrality” refers to the internet regulations set into place by then F.C.C. chief Tom Wheeler back in 2015. Under these rules, broadband internet service was designated a utility like your telephone service. These rules gave the F.C.C. authority over Internet Service Providers to limit their control over the specifics of their internet distribution.
These regulations did not sit right for some people - including a few within the F.C.C. itself. Ajit Pai was vocal in his distaste for new rules and proceeded to do something about it when he was elected the new chief of the F.C.C. in 2017. A vote was held within the F.C.C. on December 14th, 2017 and the ruleset was repealed, effective June 11th, 2018.
The end of Net Neutrality gives many people pause for one major reason: It has the potential to turn the internet from an open highway into a toll road. The major point of repealing Net Neutrality is to turn the internet into a capitalistic enterprise that favors ISPs. Following the logical means to their ends results in some extreme examples. ISPs could charge for “fast lanes” and “slow lanes” depending on how much money you want to spend a month. ISPs could make deals with large websites like Netflix and Amazon, providing them with more bandwidth and faster connection speeds (for a cost) to help squash their competition. ISPs could hypothetically just block lawful websites they don’t like. The end of Net Neutrality shifts power and initiative from the consumer to the internet service providers- potentially too much.
Since there is money and power involved, the controversy of Net Neutrality has quickly turned into a political issue. Some individual states have reinforced Net Neutrality laws on state level. The Senate just recently voted to save Net Neutrality, and the fight now moves to the House. Both sides argue for a “free and open internet”. They simply differ on who it is free and open for. If you feel strongly about Net Neutrality in either direction, the best way to make a difference right now is to contact your House representative.
If you want more information of Net Neutrality and how it may impact your life or business, feel free to read these articles:
And as always, let’s be careful out there!
- The PJ Networks Team