Net Neutrality is the notion that the Internet should be “open” so that all users can access any content they please and use any applications without limitations and without being charged by internet service providers (ISP) based on the variety of content or quantity of bandwidth used.
What exactly is this debate about then?
Well, recently the Appeals Court ruled that the Open Internet Order’s rules are no longer valid. And, these rules prohibited ISPs from blocking specific sites and charging for more bandwidth (i.e. faster connection).
With this ruling, ISPs are now allowed to block sites, limit, tier and give preferential treatment to those who are willing to pay for better, faster connections and more access.
Prior to this decision the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforced “Net Neutrality”, which meant users and consumers could consume the content of their choice in a fair manner. Now, competition is the governing force, not regulation.
So, what does that mean?
It means that big companies that can afford it (think Netflix, Google, Facebook, etc.) will easily be able to pay for fast connections, whereas new start-ups will not. Plus, users will be subject to slower connections for sites and applications that refuse to pay for faster connectivity.
Also, without Net Neutrality regulations, ISPs could give preferential treatment to a search engine (for example) that they signed a contract deal with, and then that ISP could incentivize customers to use that particular search engine by charging users more to use others.
Should the Internet be free and open? Or should vendors pay for the bandwidth they’re using?
Have something to say?
The FCC is collecting public comments to help them develop their new set of guidelines. Click here to voice your opinion!