Would the end of net neutrality mean the end of the Internet as we know it?
by Karin L. Nauber
“Let me look that up on the Internet quick.”
Phrases like that and more could become a thing of the past if the Federal Communication Commission has its way and does away with what is called “net neutrality.”
It’s a real issue and the vote that could change the Internet as we currently know it happens on December 12. That’s in a week.
So, what is net neutrality?
Well, according to battleforthenet.com, net neutrality is the basic principle that protects our free speech on the Internet. It is the principle that Internet providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T should not control what we see and do online.
“In 2015, startups, Internet freedom groups, and 3.7 million commenters won strong net neutrality rules from the United States Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The rules prohibit Internet providers from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—‘fast lanes’ for sites that pay, and slow lanes for everyone else.”
Net neutrality also prevents those big companies from charging apps and sites extra fees to reach an audience, which in turn they would have to pass on to consumers.
“The Internet has thrived precisely because of net neutrality. It’s what makes it so vibrant and innovative—a place for creativity, free expression, and exchange of ideas. Without net neutrality, the Internet will become more like cable TV, where the content you see is what your provider puts in front of you,” according to battleforthenet.com.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced his intention of eliminating net neutrality rules on April 26 according to an article from ARS Technica.
According to the article, Comcast spokesperson Sena Fitzmaurice claims ARS Technica got the story wrong, however, Comcast, one of the “big” providers of cable and Internet services, “deleted their net neutrality pledge that same day the FCC announced its initial plan to repeal net neutrality rules.”
Comcast insists that the company has “no plans” to enter into paid prioritization agreements.
In other words, they won’t create “fast lanes” or “slow lanes.”
However, cable companies have been known for high prices and for providing viewers with the content they want to show.
For example, cable users all know the cost of having to buy the “bigger” cable package filled with channels we don’t want just so we can get a movie channel.
Browerville resident John Peters who is a department head in computer science at the Minneapolis Business College in Roseville and is the instructor for computer programming and computer networks, had a lot to say about this issue.
“Up until 2016 there were no rules regarding net neutrality,” said Peters. “Everyone just assumed that without rules you would get the Internet speed you paid for.”
Peters said that around that time a company called Level 3 accused certain services (Comcast, AT&T, Verizon) of slowing down Netflix, so they could charge their customers more to have adequate speed.
Peters said that countries like Portugal do not have net neutrality rules.
According to a website he shared: https://www.theverge.com/2014/5/6/5686780/major-isps-accused-of-deliberately-throttling-traffic, this is what happens: