INTERNET NEUTRALITY AND WHY DO YOU CARE

INTERNET NEUTRALITY AND WHY DO YOU CARE

Net neutrality is a subject most of us don’t know about or could care less about, that is until you are not able to access some websites or services such as Netflix that you currently use with your current Internet Service Provider (ISP).   So what is net neutrality?  It is where all websites or services are created equal, but without it, the service provider such as Comcast can force you to purchase or use their services that they provide.  If you don’t and want to use Netflix, you may experience poor video quality or service interruption.

Net neutrality gives you options.  A few years ago Comcast got in trouble because they were deprioritizing the Vonage data.  The result was that anybody with Comcast in their homes and used Vonage as their phone provider, would experience bad call quality or quality of service (QOS).   Why would they do this?  They may have done this so they could sell those customers their phone service and could provide QOS with the hopes that those customers would drop Vonage and get those services from Comcast.

At the end of the day as a consumer, we want net neutrality because if we want to watch Netflix at $14.95 a month to stream movies, we have that option.  But what if Comcast filtered their content and made the signal unwatchable, you would be forced to buy that content from Comcast and if you are like me, the bill is a lot more than $14.95. In this area, there are not a lot of choices for Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) to choose from, so we want net neutrality to keep the Comcast’s of the world in check.

If Comcast or another ISP is the only service provider in your area, you would be forced to buy their content and not have the option of the other options out in the market.  The other option is that websites pay the ISP to prioritize their signal, which would give you options, but limited to those that can afford that.  So if you want the internet to work the way it has worked since its inception, you want net neutrality.

Below are some dates of events that have happened in net neutrality history.

On December 21, 2010, FCC Open Internet Order 2010 banned cable television and telephone service providers from preventing access to competitors or certain web sites such as Netflix. The rules also include a more limited set of obligations for wireless providers. The rules would not keep ISPs from charging more for faster access. Republicans in Congress threatened to reverse the rules through legislation.[98]

On September 23, 2011, the FCC released its final rules for Preserving a Free and Open Internet. These rules state that providers must have transparency of network management practices, not block lawful content, nor unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic.[99] These rules are effective 20 November 2011.

On January 14, 2014, the DC Circuit Court determined that the FCC has no authority to enforce Network Neutrality rules, as service providers are not identified as “common carriers”.[100]

Since the January 14th ruling, AT&T has submitted several patents [101] that account for specific ways to take advantage of the FCC’s limited authority. Verizon is also under a mountain of allegations that they have been slowing access to both Netflix and to the Amazon Cloud services, although the company denies these allegations. Multiple independent sources have performed network speed analysis and do find slower connection times to these sites, although there is currently no proof that Verizon is purposefully causing these slowdowns.

On February 19, 2014 the FCC announced plans to formulate new rules to enforce net neutrality while complying with the court rulings.[102]