Net Neutrality: What is it and Where is it Headed?

Posted by Morgan DeBoest

Maybe you’ve heard of net neutrality. It’s probably come up on the news or in class, but you’ve never given it much thought. Common Cause‘s definition of net neutrality is “the principle that Internet users should be able to access any web content they choose and use any applications they choose, without restrictions or limitations imposed by their Internet service provider.”

Photo courtesy Steve Rhode

Photo courtesy Steve Rhode

So what does this mean? We are all able to use the Internet on our computers, phones, and tablets for as long as we can remember without giving the reason we can do that much thought. The freedom of expression and innovation has been widely available because Internet users haven’t been overly regulated by Internet providers. Net neutrality has been law since 2010 (when the FCC adopted it), but recently it’s been spun into a bit of a controversy.

According to Wired.com’s Marvin Ammori, companies in the ranks of AT&T and Verizon have been trying for years to get companies to pay for their content to be “reliably” distributed to users. These users already pay their Internet provider to receive Internet service. In 2010, Verizon went to court with the FCC to force them to void their “no-blocking rule”, a rule making it illegal for Internet providers and cellular companies to block certain websites in order to force users to use sites associated or approved by the company.

The DC Circuit will be ruling in Verizon’s case–and if Verizon wins, these companies will be able to “deliver some sites and services more quickly and reliably than others for any reason … or no reason at all,” said Ammori.

What’s your take on this? Would the loss of net neutrality affect how you use the Internet or who your provider would be? Would it shape what sites you visit or what you share?

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2 responses to “Net Neutrality: What is it and Where is it Headed?

  1. This is a terrible idea all around. These providers could potentially limit access to their competitors’ sites. All-access should be a given for web consumers. I would definitely avoid any Internet provider who didn’t promise full, honest access to the web.

  2. Kayli, I completely agree. One of the best aspects of the World Wide Web is the full accessibility and open atmosphere. I wouldn’t want to lose that so a few Internet providers could make some extra money.

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