For those that are unaware, net neutrality is defined as the idea that Internet service providers should allow access to all content and applications, regardless of the source, without any bias or censoring particular products or websites. This means that internet service providers are banned from attempting to charge more money just to grant users access to certain web pages or applications. In layman terms, all internet access is treated equally.
Everything that the internet has to offer should remain accessible by all users. This is the main point of the “open internet schema”. This open internet schema includes the concept of net neutrality, as well as open standards, transparency, lack of Internet censorship, and low barriers to entry.
Advocates of net neutrality see this as a crucial part of an “open Internet”, meaning that policies such as equal treatment of data and open web standards allow individuals using the Internet to easily navigate without having to worry about any interruptions from a third-party source.
Net Neutrality Repeal Background
To give a little history, net neutrality rules were established in 2015 during the Obama administration. The democratic goal was to adopt regulations to adhere to the essential role of high-speed internet access as a gateway to modern communication, information, entertainment and economic opportunity.
So, the F.C.C. opted to regulate broadband service as a utility; basically, comparing internet service to electrical or telephone services. The fear of the repeal of net neutrality is that it will become a sort of pay-to-play scenario with two options: one having great service, and the other having not so great service. The fast lane would be used by the big and famous internet and media companies, as well as well-off families.
For everyone else, there would be the slow lane. The popular internet companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Ebay, and Netflix wouldn’t have a problem with paying a higher rent and it wouldn’t affect their business, though it may affect their profits due to the fact that users in the slow lane wouldn’t be able to access their business.
How Would This Affect Us?
The repeal plan not only rolls back the Obama administration regulations, it goes a step farther; it specifically allows internet providers to block media content. If the government does officially repeal net neutrality, then consumers are at the mercy of their internet providers in hopes that they are billed fairly for decent internet access without being censored. It boils down to “who do you trust?” Some say there shouldn’t be any concern for this because, with proper marketing incentives, the companies will provide the best service to its customers and cater to consumer demand.
Everyone has a different opinion about net neutrality. We will find out in April of 2018 exactly how the repeal of net neutrality is going to affect the entire internet population. Will we need to build a new internet? Maybe, but maybe not, too.