Net Neutrality what's all the fuss about?

by | Jul 15, 2014

It’s D-Day for submissions to the FCC (the US Government’s Federal Communications Commission) on the proposed changes to the Open Internet or Net Neutrality rules.
The basic’s first if you have no idea what I am talking about Open Internet and Net Neutrality as described on the FCC website:

“The principle of the Open Internet is sometimes referred to as “net neutrality.” Under this principle, consumers can make their own choices about what applications and services to use and are free to decide what lawful content they want to access, create, or share with others. This openness promotes competition and enables investment and innovation.”

So what’s all the fuss about? In a nutshell, in 2010, the FCC created something called Open Internet Rules which enforced three things:

  1. Transparency. Internet access providers had to start disclosing how they were managing their networks.
  2. No blocking. Internet access providers couldn’t block access to legal content or applications.
  3. No discrimination. Essentially, net neutrality. Internet access providers couldn’t favour one traffic source over another.

Verizon (one of the massive content providers in the USA primarily sitting alongside Comcast) challenged these rules stating in enforcing them the FCC were essentially regulating private businesses.
OK but why should we care? The primary risk is these massive companies dictating what we can see online and the speed at which we can consume content, not to mention the potential pricing implications they could also impose for content. In plain english check out this Wall Street Journal article:

“In all likelihood the Internet will gradually move from being a one-size-fits-all service to one where users or content companies can — or have to — pay more for better service or higher volumes of traffic,”

This debate isn’t limited to the United States, the implications of content speed, cost and control will have a flow on effect for other countries. Even here in little old NZ.
Watch these youtube clips – great way to educate yourself, they are very consumable, provide fantastic analogies and in the John Oliver one both informative and funny:
Internet Citizens Defend Net Neutrality
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Net Neutrality
Hank vs Hank: The Net Neutrality Debate in 3 minutes
Get involved – no matter where you live when this debate comes up submit a, take action otherwise we may well find ourselves complaining about speed, cost and loss of content, all not things I am interested in facing. Happy sharing, Vic.

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