On Thursday December 14th, 2017 the FCC commision repealed Net Neutrality from a vote of three to two.
What is Net Neutrality?
Net Neutrality was a set of rules that was approved by the FCC in 2015 and was designed to keep the internet open and fair. Internet Service Providers or ISP’s were required to treat online content the same under the rules. What this means is that ISP’s cannot slow down or speed up specific sites or apps and they were not allowed to put their own content at an advantage point above other rivals.
According to CNN “To take a classic example, this means Comcast can’t just choose to slow down a service like Netflix to make its own streaming video service more competitive, nor can it try to squeeze Netflix to pay more money to part of a so-called internet fast lane.”
Net Neutrality is such a big deal because the internet is becoming more central to our lives. So any change that occurs on how the internet is regulated is a big issue.
The question is now how will internet providers be regulated?
The FCC wanted to do away with rules stopping ISPs from blocking or slowing down an individual’s access to online content. It als would eliminate a rule blocking ISPs from prioritizing their own content.
Now that ISPs will not longer be blocked on those actions, they will be required to disclose that they are blocking, slowing down content or paid prioritization.
Your probably wondering by now. How will this change affect you?
What won’t happen: Popular services such as Netflix are not going to disappear overnight without net neutrality rules. They will have enough money and large audiences to survive the new rules. The worry is though that internet startups could struggle to get deals with ISPs to have their content delivered faster which could change the future landscape of the internet. The repeal might change how customers are billed for the services they use. That change could be bad or good in some ways. A fear by many is that some day customers would have to pay more to access services such as Netflix that are already included as part of your monthly bill.
Some people think this is done and the change cannot be reversed but it is likely that the issue could end up being decided in court or could even go to congress.
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