If you are an avid user of the internet, you have most likely heard about the FCC and their success in repealing net neutrality last month. Net neutrality, which was solidified under Obama, is a set of rules that prevented major service providers from blocking certain websites, slowing down internet speeds, and charging their customers for better internet service. By the majority, the end of net neutrality is considered an injustice and many internet-related services are going after the FCC in order to put these rules back into play. Despite the brief summary above, net neutrality and the effects of its elimination are more complex than most are led to think.
What we need to ask ourselves is, why did net neutrality come into play, why is it important, and how does this change affect us? The Origins of Net NeutralityNet neutrality evolved out of the need to prevent any company or organization from controlling the developing internet. Since its inception, many companies wanted to be in control over the internet and how individuals utilized it. In response to these companies, the net neutrality rules and debate began forming, which resulted in more competition in the internet industry and more rights for internet users. Why Is Net Neutrality Important? As I stated above, without net neutrality, major internet service providers have the ability to prevent customers from visiting certain websites, to slow down internet speeds to certain websites, and to charge their customers more if they want to have access to faster internet speeds. The biggest concern of many people is that service providers will be able to prevent minority voices from being heard. With net neutrality, both those who surf the internet and those who create content for it are allowed to read and craft anything they wish, as long as its legal. Without these rules, people are afraid that providers can block access to websites if they don’t like the content. Basically, net neutrality keeps the internet open and available for everyone.
What Does the End of Net Neutrality Mean for Us? For now, it’s unlikely that we’ll see very many or any changes that will affect internet users. The law was only recently repealed and it will take time for things to go into effect, especially with the amount of backlash and attention that the FCC and companies are facing. Will we ever see the original net neutrality laws be put back in place? Only time will tell.