Why Net Neutrality Is Important And Needs To Be Saved

Demonstrators protest in front of the White House in support of net neutrality. 2014. (Joseph Gruber, Flickr Creative Commons)

Net Neutrality is under attack.

The big telecommunications companies (i.e., Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, etc.) are trying to quash the gains we the people made for a free and open Internet since the Federal Communications Commission ruled in favor of Net Neutrality in 2015.

What Is Net Neutrality?

Wikipedia defines Net Neutrality as, “the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminate or charging deferentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.”

Rules Passed In 2015 To Protect The Internet

In 2015, under then-FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, the commission adopted rules (PDF) keeping the Internet free and open. This decision means that telecoms couldn’t prioritize traffic to those who were paying them.

Net Neutrality is essential to free speech, education, economic opportunity, social movements, and dissent.. It also helps protect innovation and the business community, because startups can build without having to pay-to-play.

Pay-To-Play

If the telecoms had their way, there would be a fast lane, with higher speeds, and a drastically slower lane for those sites not paying for prioritization. Anti-neutrality could also take the form of not deducting data from cell plans for paying content providers (Zero-Rating)

The telecom company’s plans are concerning because it’s prioritizing bits of data over others.

All These Protections Can Go Away In An Instant

President Donald Trump’s appointed FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, is anti-Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality’s popularity across the political spectrum, but Pai is working with industry lobbyists to reverse Wheeler’s rules.

Resources To Learn More:

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About Seth Goldstein 26 Articles
Seth is an independent journalist based in Bucks County, PA. He has written for newspapers across the state. He is also the Web Editor for Raging Chicken Press. You can email him directly at Seth@RCPress.org. Also check out his "non-regularly scheduled" audio show "Seth Goldstein Reporting" on Anchor.FM