The FCC Repealed Net Neutrality- What Does it Mean?
Social Media has been recently plagued with the banners crying “Save Net Neutrality” and “Save the Internet” reinforced by YouTube sensations, social advocates, and just plain know-it-alls. Recently, the government (FCC) voted to repeal the net neutrality protections 3-2. Consequently, the “world-wide-web” displayed “world-wide” dissatisfaction with the FCC. Although Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC, claims that “[Net neutrality] is not going to destroy the internet. It is not going to end the internet as we know it. It is not going to kill democracy. It is not going to stifle free expression online.”
So what is “net neutrality?” Why is there such a blow-up about the effects and consequences of repealing “net neutrality?” Is it the end of the Internet as we know it? The short answer: no. Nevertheless, here’s a rundown of the facts and ramifications of net neutrality.
Net neutrality—What is it?
Net neutrality is the concept that the Internet is, well, neutral. The Internet is open to anyone at any time and the access to and releasement of content remains equal.
So how is net neutrality governed? What is the basis for net neutrality?
The Internet delivers content in two different processes. ISP’s, or Internet Service Providers, deliver the Internet to a customer. A Content Provider provides actual media content to a customer. This is where the basis for net neutrality comes from—ISP’s cannot push content providers to charge for faster services or “unreasonably interfere with customers”.
Now that net neutrality has been repealed, what happens next?
Well, Mr. Pai does have one thing correct: The Internet is not going away. However, the freedom of equal choice is in question. Basically, the repeal by the FCC of net neutrality means more in terms of pricing rather than availability. In a nutshell, ISP’s would now be able to dictate whether or not their customers would have to pay more for highly used content outlets. This repeal also would create a form of monopolization for larger corporations to where if smaller companies could not produce enough monetization up to the ISP’s standards, they would be forced to distribute content at a slower rate. However, this appeal has now moved on to Congress where it could be overturned.
So what does this repeal mean for me?
The appeal, if it is passed through Congress, would mean that your access to the things that you watch will now be controlled on an uneven playing field. Rather than all things being neutral and treated equally, ISP’s would have the power to charge customers higher rates for highly-watched content. This would also mean that ISP’s would have the power to dictate a customer’s ability to watch content of equal access across multiple content platforms. So not all content would be treated “neutrally.” This repeal would also affect smaller companies and start-ups from becoming bigger as they would be pulled to the “slow-lane” of data.
Where can I learn more?
Several articles on net neutrality, from the declaration of it to the recent appeal, have been cited and sourced on this article. An excellent video by the BBC has also been linked which shows an explanation of net neutrality and its repeal as it relates to highway traffic.
Net Neutrality may have been repealed, but the issue is far from being resolved. While we aren’t losing the Internet, we are losing the freedom of equality of the Internet in terms of content. As this repeal transitions to Congress, many have turned to petitioning and contacting government officials to try and force an overturn.