18 Dec, 2017

What You Need To Know About The Current State Of Net Neutrality

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Net neutrality has been a huge topic of discussion this weekend, ever since the Federal Communications Commission came together to vote on what the state of net neutrality rules should be. Since Thursday, I have faced many conversations surrounding what net neutrality really means, and how the internet will be affected.

Although many internet users have been outraged about the outcome of the vote, it also occurred to me that not everyone fully understands what net neutrality is, and the real impact it has. First, we will start with the basics.

What Is Net Neutrality?

In 2015, the internet saw a major breakthrough when the FCC voted for an open internet policy. Then, Tom Wheeler was the FCC Chairman and he revealed a plan that was seen as a victory for net neutrality supporters. Basically, the plan reclassified ISPs as common carriers which stood up against major companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast. The open internet allowed users to “go where they want” without major cooperations to have restrictions on them.

According to Wheeler, “I propose to fully apply — for the first time ever — those bright-line rules to mobile broadband,” Wheeler wrote. “My proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission.” The Verge reported.

So, in 2015, the FCC pushed for an open internet policy, which put every internet user on a common ground, with fast service, and no restrictions. Companies were stripped away the right to slow down the internet for any reason, including mobile app usage.

“We cannot have a two-tiered internet with fast lanes that speed the traffic of the privileged and leave the rest of us lagging behind,” commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said at today’s meeting. “We cannot have gatekeepers who tell us what we can and cannot do and where we can and cannot go online.  And we do not need blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization schemes that undermine the internet as we know it.” The Verge reported.

Net Neutrality Today

On Thursday, the FCC voted to kill net neutrality. In a 3-2 vote, the final verdict stands tall. Net neutrality rules will no longer be put in place for the first time in a decade. These rules included not allowing internet providers to block and slow down access to the internet while offering fast lanes for a hefty penny.

This result caused an uproar from consumers, especially net neutrality advocates. Some people believe that we should have an open internet for all. Eliminating net neutrality can affect those who access the internet frequently, by changing the speed of the internet as providers have the power to control it. Others say that net neutrality was never necessary, and this new vote will not change much.

Even though the vote is clear, it will take a few weeks for any changes to occur, as the FCC makes appropriate changes to the rules. In a few months, they will meet with Federal Register, which is when the changes will really be put into place. Once the changes set in, we will be met with some challenges like the slower internet with unpaid access, or faster internet with paid access, which some people see as an advantage.

What are your thoughts on net neutrality?

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