“The battle for Net Neutrality, while praiseworthy and important, always seemed to me to be the lowest hanging fruit for proponents of free and open speech, reporting and public debate. In other words, we’ve always had Net Neutrality from the beginning of the Internet. The fight finally won last week was simply about keeping it that way.”
I studied Cyber Law in law school, and had the fortunate opportunity to study under a Professor who not only taught the subject at Harvard, but served as a researcher for Harvard. If there’s such a thing as a international rock star in the field of cyber law, it was him.
So I’m going break down what I know.
The internet we have today:
If you have internet, you buy it from a provider selecting your package based on speed. How fast a site loads depends on how fast your connection is and all websites are treated equally, so it doesn’t matter if you’re watching netflix or a video on a start up service funded on kickstarter - it’s the same internet.
Most people don’t have a choice in internet provider. So there’s no competition to drive down prices or drive up service quality. If you don’t like it, you can’t switch without moving. If you live in a COX zone, it’s what you get, the same for comcast.
Many places don’t even offer higher speed options like, fiber, so the customers are pretty stuck and the US over all has pretty slow internet.
Who wants the cable company to control the internet!
With the internet as it is today, you pay one fee to log on and can go anywhere. Some websites require subscriptions, but you pay them directly. On the internet, there is no premium content. Everything is equal or you could say Neutral
Years ago, the Cable Companies had an idea
What if they charged the websites to put them on the internet and charged more depending on the website? Sort of fee to use the cable companies’s wires.
The government said No and Net Neutrality was born! That is, the internet we know and love today where all content is equal, were it doesn’t matter if you’re netflix or a start up cartoon website - you don’t pay more. There is no toll for websites to be on the internet, and no fast lane to buy into.
So a website like Bing can’t pay more to be faster than google. There is no special access to to the cable lines.
This means websites succeed on the quality of their service and there’s no risk that start ups won’t be able to compete with established websites because they can’t afford to pay to be fast.
Net Neutrality isn’t more regulations, it’s what we’ve had for over a decade.
On a technicality, saying they couldn’t find the legal basis (i.e. congress didn’t spell out the power)
This is easy to fix, since congress has the power, they can just go back and vote yes, the FCC has the power to make sure the internet doesn’t turn into cable TV. Or, since congress takes forever, the FCC can look for a different legal basis (which is what they did).
Because the worry isn’t just that start up companies won’t be able to compete, and some content will be given premium treatment, it’s that it could lead to the cable company turning the internet into cable, complete with having to pay based on what you want to access.
Net neutrality = the internet we have now
Preserving the free internet and saying NO to the cable companies who want to charge based on content
So if you’ve enjoyed the internet for the past 15 years, don’t worry, nothing has changed
The FCC voted in favor of the Open Internet Order, new net neutrality rules that would prohibit paid Internet paid fast lanes, and reclassify broadband providers as telecommunication services under the Title II of the Telecommunications Act, among other regulations. The rules were passed by a 3-2 vote along party lines, with Commissioners Ajut Pai and Michael O’Rielly (Republicans) voting against the measure and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, Jessica Rosenworcel and Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler (Democrats) voting in favor of the order.
The Federal Communications Commission Thursday passed sweeping new net neutrality rules, a government promise of unrestricted internet across America and a major milestone in the shift in American corporate power to Silicon Valley.
The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to approve strong net neutrality rules in a stunning decision that defies vocal, months-long opposition by telecom and cable companies and Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Today, the FCC voted 3-2 in favor of rules that reclassify broadband Internet service
as a utility, effectively stopping service providers from blocking
sites or apps, charging users extra to surf the Web at full speed or
operating paid “fast lanes” for specific services or websites like
Netflix or YouTube. And though we’re not completely out of the woods yet, this is huge news.