What is net neutrality?
Net Neutrality is the principle that all data and traffic on the internet should be treated equally. Net Neutrality means that providers of internet access services must remain neutral regarding their treatment of the information and data that flows across their networks and cannot treat any content more or less favorably than any other content. The FCC, or Federal Communications Commission, adopted these net neutrality rules on February 26, 2015 in order to prohibit internet service providers from elevating one kind of content over another. All data has to be treated the same regardless of the content or the source. Sounds like a good idea, right?
What does the repeal of net neutrality mean?
On December 14, 2017, the FCC voted to reclassify high-speed broadband services as “information services” rather than “telecommunication services”. As a result, broadband service providers are no longer subject to nondiscrimination requirements. In addition to this reclassification, the FCC eliminated the Internet Conduct Standard and the Bright Line Rules against blocking, throttling and internet “fast lanes”. Under these new rules, internet service providers are required to be transparent and must disclose their service practices to consumers, entrepreneurs and the FCC; including whether or not they are engaging in blocking, throttling and paid prioritization (i.e. “pay to play” fast lanes) or affiliated prioritization.
What does this mean for you?
The elimination of the Bright Line Rules means that Internet Service Providers are free to interfere with or disable the ability of subscribers to choose the content they want to send and receive. It is now lawful for internet service providers to prioritize the transmission of data across their networks by favoring content and services from their own subsidiaries and the highest paying websites and applications. You should really care if you happen to live in a place where you don’t have many choices or only one choice (which is really no choice) for an internet service provider. In that case, your access to content and services on the internet will be controlled by the data management practices of a single provider. Even if you don’t notice any changes in your internet service right away, changes are coming. Only the passing of time will tell if these new rules will “restore internet freedom”. Stay tuned. Things are about to get interesting.
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