Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all websites, blogs, and other online services equally. They shouldn’t block or slow down certain sites or apps, nor should they offer different “fast lanes” for big companies and small businesses. Net neutrality has been a hot topic in recent years. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to roll back net neutrality rules earlier this year. That decision probably won’t have much of an impact on most people — the main change will take place later this year. But it’s worth knowing what exactly net neutrality is and its pros and cons before making up your mind about the new FCC guidelines.
What is net neutrality?
During the early 2000s, several Internet companies formed the Internet Association, which became the trade group that we now know as the Internet Association. The group pushed for stronger net neutrality rules, and the FCC agreed in 2015. Since then, the commission has periodically discussed lifting those rules, but it’s been stuck on what changes would be appropriate. The main difference between net neutrality and the current rules is that under the old rules, Internet providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T could charge companies for faster or slower service. The new rules require Internet providers to treat all websites and apps equally, without discrimination.
The Biggest Differences Between Net Neutrality and Current Rules
The biggest difference between net neutrality and the current rules is that under the new rules, Internet providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T will not be able to mask their service speed as they were previously allowed to do. This means that if you visit the same website on a computer and a mobile device, the mobile version should display the same content as the computer version. If not, you might notice a speed difference. Cable and other traditional TV providers have generally supported the new rules, while Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have opposed them. That’s likely because the companies want to maintain the right to introduce fees that could charge websites and apps higher fees if they want to provide faster or more reliable service. The FCC also added new requirements for Internet providers to address “unreasonable” or “unjust” traffic management, like charging companies for prioritized services. The new rules also ban “commercially unreasonable” or “anticompetitive” network management, like slowing down or jamming up traffic on certain networks.
The Pros of Net Neutrality
Some of the biggest benefits of net neutrality come from the increased competition that it creates. In a world without net neutrality rules, internet providers like Comcast and Verizon would be able to offer much lower rates to compete with customers. That means less choice for customers, which may affect how they choose to use the internet. Without net neutrality rules, companies like Comcast and Verizon could offer faster speeds to some users, while charging others more. That would mean fewer customers would get the best deal, and they would be less likely to switch providers if they were unhappy with the service they were receiving. Some of the biggest benefits of net neutrality come from the increased competition that it creates.
The Cons of Net Neutrality
While the pros of net neutrality far outweigh the cons, it’s worth mentioning both of them. The biggest benefit of net neutrality is the increased competition that it creates, which can lead to better services for all. Without net neutrality, internet providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have an unfair advantage because they can charge more for better service. That means less competition, lower rates, and fewer choices for customers. It’s important to remember that without net neutrality, internet providers like Comcast and Verizon have an unfair advantage because they can charge more for better service. That means less competition, lower rates, and fewer choices for customers.
The bottom line is that without net neutrality, there would be less competition in the internet service industry. That means lower rates, less choice, and fewer services. Those would be bad for consumers, and they could also lead to less innovation in the industry. The FCC is expected to issue final rules on how to implement net neutrality in the coming months. If the commission follows these rules, there should be little impact on most people.