Updated: May 16
What is Net Neutrality?
Net neutrality prevents ISPs from slowing down connections for people attempting to access certain sites, apps and services and blocking legal content.
According to campaigners in favour of net neutrality, the new law will help ensure a free and open internet by preventing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Verizon and AT&T from creating “fast lanes” for firms who are willing and able to pay for their traffic to be prioritised.
Without the rules, they’ll no longer have to treat all internet traffic equally and will be able to prioritise certain websites and services over others.
Why is it so important?
“Without net neutrality, cable and phone companies could carve the internet into fast and slow lanes,” warns Save The Internet, a coalition of organisations that have been calling for the preservation of the rules.
“An ISP could slow down its competitors’ content or block political opinions it disagreed with. ISPs could charge extra fees to the few content companies that could afford to pay for preferential treatment – relegating everyone else to a slower tier of service.
“This would destroy the open internet.”
What could change?
The end of net neutrality could also have a huge impact on innovation and competition.
For instance, ISPs that have their own video services could choose to slow down customers’ connections when they try to use a competing service, such as Netflix.
Such a move would completely ruin the Netflix user experience, which could in turn lead to the company losing customers.
The end of net neutrality could completely cripple startups too, as large, established sites would be in a much better position than them to strike favourable deals with ISPs, in order to have their services prioritised over others.
There are also fears that ISPs could use their power to censor protesters and suffocate free speech, by controlling what people can and cannot put online.
What are ISPs saying?
Major ISPs including AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, have been urging the FCC to revoke the rules, argue that repealing them could lead to billions of dollars in additional broadband investment and eliminate the possibility that a future presidential administration could regulate internet pricing.
They claim that the rules prevent them from finding new ways to make money, and thus prevent them from spending more to improve their networks.
“The internet without net neutrality isn’t really the internet. Unlike the open internet that has paved the way for so much innovation and given a platform to people who have historically been shut out, it would become a closed-down network where cable and phone companies call the shots and decide which websites, content or applications succeed,” says Save The Internet.
“This would have an enormous impact. Companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would be able to decide who is heard and who isn’t. They’d be able to block websites or content they don’t like or applications that compete with their own offerings.”
Frequently Asked Questions–
1) What is the concept of net neutrality?
Definition of net neutrality. : the idea, principle, or requirement that Internet service providers should or must treat all Internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source, or destination.
2) Is net neutrality legal?
Net neutrality law refers to laws and regulations which enforce the principle of net neutrality. Opponents of net neutrality enforcement claim regulation is unnecessary, because broadband service providers have no plans to block content or degrade network performance.
3) What states have net neutrality?
Governors in six states—Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Montana, Rhode
Island,Vermont—have signed executive orders.Three states—Oregon, Vermont, andWashington—enacted net neutrality legislation.
4) Does the FCC regulate the Internet?
In the United States, broadband services were historically regulated differently according to the technology by which they were carried. While cable Internet has always been classified by the FCC as an information service free of most regulation, DSL was regulated as a telecommunications service.