The End of Net Neutrality
Everywhere on the Internet in the past month, we’ve been seeing the hashtag #NetNeutrality
There’s also been protests all across the world after Net Neutrality was ultimately repealed on December 14th by Republican commissioner Ajit Pai. This leads us to the question of: What is Net Neutrality and what does its end mean for us?
Let’s start by defining what Net Neutrality actually is. Net neutrality is an internet policy that prohibits Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from interfering with the content on our networks. In other words, it prevents the company that provides you access to the internet from controlling what you do on the internet. It was officially implemented by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in 2015.
Now, without net neutrality, companies like Verizon and AT&T will be able to prioritize what websites and applications show up in your browser. Those companies can easily give special treatment to large content providers such as Google and Netflix. Internet providers can even charge the speed of the internet, putting big corporations in the fast lane but others in the slower lane. The only restraint on such companies is that they have to publicly announce what they are planning on doing.
You will personally be affected by the end of net neutrality when your Internet Service Provider decides to limit your access or slow down the speed at which you can access a certain website (e.g. Netflix).
The end of net neutrality has been protested by millions of people across the world, and it will continue to be an issue for everyone for a long time. We shall have to wait and see what actually ends up happening. After all, if an Internet Service Provider were to excessively interfere with their customer’s Internet access, they would lose a significant amount of customers. Therefore, since Internet Providers will still want to maintain their customer base, they won’t be able to take such drastic measures of controlling their customer’s access.
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