BREAKING: Net Neutrality Repealed
After campaigns by Democrats in Congress, Internet activists and online companies, the Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to repeal net neutrality rules.
The decision has been a hot topic all year, but what exactly is net neutrality? It sounds great. Heck, the word neutrality is actually in the name. But the details surrounding net neutrality have been murky at best. Many companies like Facebook, Google and others have brought up people commenting about net neutrality, stating that's it's vital, but not much else.
Here's what net neutrality is, why it's a hot topic, and what it means for your internet.
What is Net Neutrality?
The net neutrality rules were adopted by the FCC under the Obama administration in 2015 in an effort to ensure Internet service providers treated all web content equally. They prohibited Internet service providers from blocking, throttling or interfering with web traffic, and reclassified broadband Internet service as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act.
With Thursday's decision, broadband services are now classified as an information service under Title I of the Communications Act.
Why is Net Neutrality a Hot Topic?
Net Neutrality is about giving the government the right to control and regulate the Internet. Most notably, controlling the speeds in which all data crosses networks. Their fear, was that big companies could have their websites load faster than smaller companies by paying more. However, as of the writing of this article, this has never happened. If that were to happen, larger companies could buy up faster speeds and control the content that's most readily available online.
Under Net Neutrality, large corporations were able to bog down the speed that everyone accesses the web, in an effort for everything to load at the same time.
With more oppressive government regulation, costs tend to rise. These are costs that upstart businesses can't afford, but large corporations can.
The changes will take a couple of weeks to go into effect, but groups represented by Michael Bickerman of the Internet Association who represents big tech firms like Google and Facebook opposed to the action and announced plans to sue the FCC to restore net neutrality regulations. This process could take many months to be resolved.
While there is quite a bit of uproar, it's unclear how much will change for internet users. The rules served as a protective measure to prevent telecom companies from favoring sites like CNN.com over KIDOTalkRadio.com. However, major telecom companies have promised consumers their experiences online will not change.
"There is a lot of misinformation that this is the 'end of the world as we know it' for the internet," Comcast's senior executive vice president David Cohen wrote in a press release this week. "Our internet service is not going to change."