Net Neutrality

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Nov 30, 2017

Net Neutrality is in trouble. The FCC will be voting to get rid of Net Neutrality rules on December 14, 2017.

Net Neutrality is basically a statement saying all internet traffic is treated the same. What that means for people is a little bit harder to explain. Let’s start out by looking at what people commonly use the internet for: social media, YouTube, Netflix, Yahoo, Google, news, and gaming. What Net Neutrality states is the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must treat these uses as equal so they can’t slow down data deliberately to any of these sources.

If we discontinue the policy of Net Neutrality, the ISPs will be able to either charge the websites (YouTube, Netflix, Google, etc) to ensure the content people want is delivered quickly; or else they have the right to slow it down. What that means for everyday users is if you wanted to watch a YouTube video and you are using Verizon and YouTube has not paid the fee to Verizon then you may be stuck with a long load time and buffering.

Having Net Neutrality in place is good for start-up companies. The internet allows them to compete in the same market space as large corporations like Wal-Mart and Best Buy. If we lose Net Neutrality then the ISPs would be able to slow down the content from these small start-ups in favor of traffic from bigger sites like Wal-Mart who have paid them to ensure their content is delivered quickly. It would have a detrimental effect for small start ups who may not have the money to pay to the ISPs for a faster speed.

Another thing which could happen is if Verizon were to own Starz and you have a subscription to HBO (which is owned by Time Warner) and you have your internet through Verizon. Verizon may decided to slow down all traffic from HBO, so you have difficulty watching movies and shows, but not slow down traffic from Starz. Some people might drop their subscriptions from HBO in favor of Starz which would increase the profits of Verizon. While Verizon does not own Starz (and to the best of my knowledge has no plans to buy them) we need to remember the same ISPs which will be charging content creators (HBO, Netflix, newspapers) also own many of these services themselves and the potential for abuse is huge.

We need to support Net Neutrality to ensure everyone has equal access to everything on the internet. We can’t let the rich companies control what we have access to and what pages can load and which pages can’t.

The ruling next two weeks is incredibly important to the future of the internet.