When you are using the internet, whether you’re binging YouTube, browsing Facebook, or checking your Email, you expect that you are in total control of your internet experience. You don’t expect that your cable or telephone company is messing with your internet and how you use it. Expecting this means that you expect net neutrality. Net neutrality is defined as the principle that internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.
In recent weeks, there has been a lot of discussion on this topic in our society. Net neutrality rules established by Barack Obama in 2015 allow us to share and access information on the internet without any interference from our providers, and protects our rights to free speech online. Trump’s FCC chairman Ajit Pai wants to terminate these net neutrality rules.
The FCC voted on Pai’s proposal on December 14th, 2017. The vote was 3:2 in favor of terminating net neutrality—and congress is currently [when this article was written] voting on the undoing of this repeal of net neutrality.
Even if net neutrality is terminated, you will not have to pay monthly for Snapchat, Google won’t charge you for searches, and you won’t have to pay for each Netflix movie like you’ve heard. That isn’t what net neutrality does. What it will change is that websites supported by your provider will load faster than websites that aren’t supported. Providers will now be allowed to put their own content at an advantage over rivals, and if you want, you can pay up more to get prioritized bandwidth.
All in all, the future of an open internet is hanging in the balance. But, despite what you may think, this will not be the end of our internet.
– Hannah Farnham