The Case for Net Neutrality

The issue of net neutrality is no joke; do you know how it might affect your internet access? If big ISPs succeed, changes they can implement might change the way you view content online forever. What's the issue? Big telecommunication companies want to change the way we receive online content. When we send or receive data over the Internet, we expect those companies to transfer that data from one end of the network to the other. Period. We don't expect them to analyze or manipulate it. And for a while, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had protections in place to prevent broadband providers from doing just that. In January 2014, however, a federal court said the FCC had overstepped its bounds. But, while it also said that the FCC could impose new and potentially even stronger rules, the FCC has signaled that it may instead propose that Internet service providers be allowed to charge content providers for a faster conduit to consumers. What would that mean for users? ISPs would be able to interfere with what data you receive, and how much you have to pay to receive it. For instance, they would begin charging $9.99/month to be able to access Facebook at normal speeds, or $29.99/month to reach Hulu and Netflix. On top of that, it would be possible for services to completely block some data from being received. For instance, you might not be able to access Domino's website, because Pizza Hut has a deal with your telecommunication company to route them as a priority. Does that sound the internet you love? To me, it sounds unfair. Network neutrality means applying well-established "common carrier" rules to the Internet in order to preserve its freedom and openness. Common carriage prohibits the owner of a network, that holds itself out to all-comers, from discriminating against information by halting, slowing, or otherwise tampering with the transfer of any data (except for legitimate network management purposes such as easing congestion or blocking spam). Fight for common carriage; fight for net neutrality!

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