Net neutrality and what it stands for

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A major controversy has risen in today’s society and has even reached politicians in a debate in congress: net neutrality. On Dec. 14, The Federal Communication Commission voted to repeal net neutrality, which was put into place during the Obama era in order to give people equal access to video, music, and email. Because of its repeal, now companies like Verizon and Comcast may adjust cost, speed and access to websites or types of data. For many people who don’t understand, it can be scary, but it can also be scary to experts. Net neutrality is a subject that citizens need to face and learn about for themselves.

Net neutrality is when all internet servers must provide the same service and data to all. This means no discrimination to anyone on the internet. This provides dead ends to internet servers, so they won’t unintentionally block or charge a user. In other words, it provides an open internet for all and low barriers to entry. This can also relate to phone services and game consoles.

There has been the debate for years in the U.S. whether net neutrality should be enforced by law or not. Since 2014, the Chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai, has dedicated himself to freeing the internet and giving the U.S. an open internet network. He testified that “a dispute this fundamental is not for us, five unelected individuals, to decide. Instead, it should be resolved by the people’s elected representatives, those who choose the direction of government, and those whom the American people can hold accountable for that choice.”

A lot of American citizens have been up in arms about the decision of FCC to repeal net neutrality, and there are movements to reinstate it. Until that happens, here are a few ways it can affect you:

  • Content will be blocked
    Content will be slow and throttled
    Small businesses and startups will struggle to compete
    Paid fast lanes and internet tolls
    Higher broadband costs
    Splintering of internet regulatory regimes
    Internet packages and bundling like cable
    Cheaper low-end plans
    More transparency in contracts
    ISP censorship
    Little to no change in broadband investment
    Speeds will get faster, regardless
    Customers can pay for better service
    Rural internet access will get worse, then better
    ISPs pick winners and losers
    More innovation for Internet of Things
    More data collection, less privacy
    Restrictive data caps
    More broadband investment

What will happen now that net neutrality is gone? We asked the experts

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