What is Net Neutrality and Does it Affect You?

Net neutrality is a term which refers to allowing all legal content to pass through to consumers, as well as allowing consumers to use the devices they choose in order to connect to the internet. You see, net neutrality dates back to 2003 when some big name broadband providers were banning customers from using Wi-Fi routers and virtual private networks (VPNs).


The Back Story

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at the time instituted anti-discrimination rules that prevented these types of restrictions. They were then sued by Comcast stating that the FCC didn’t have the authority to institute policies like this. The federal court ruled against the FCC and in 2010 the FCC under, the Obama administration, attempted to pass a more detailed order. They were taken to court again and the federal court ruled against this policy as well.


Eventually, in 2015, a net neutrality order was passed with broadband carriers being listed as Title II carriers. They were once again sued, but this time the federal court ruled in favor of the FCC.


Net Neutrality Proponents

Proponents of net neutrality are concerned that future innovation will be seriously stalled because the big name broadband companies will be the puppets of what we see and have access to. Basically, this means that new technologies may not be seen and the same goes for new companies or products, they won’t have the chance for growth. There are also concerns that ISP fees will be hiked up. Not to mention, the basic freedom of being able to access legal content as we, as consumers, see fit.


Net Neutrality Opponents

The opponents of net neutrality are concerned because they feel that companies like AT&T and Verizon should not be regulated by the government. There are also concerns that hackers and other’s who utilize the internet for illegal use will be able to continue without any control by the ISPs.


How Does It Affect You?

While the effects won’t necessarily be immediately noticeable, or may never be noticed, there are some you will definitely see. ISPs will begin to charge higher prices and begin to filter content. This means certain content will be blocked and video streaming services from competitors will be slower. You may also find yourself being directed to an ISP’s partnering organization or company.


Some states, including California, New York, Maryland and Connecticut are considering instituting legislation to incorporate net neutrality rules within their states and Washington has already done so.


If you are in need of residential computer services or business IT services, contact West County Computers now.

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