So What Happened?
FCC regulators voted on Thursday to allow Internet providers the power to speed up service for websites they like, and block or slow down others. It was a 3-2 vote along party lines to deregulate Internet Service Providers and remove Net Neutrality.
Net Neutrality: The premise of Net Neutrality is that all content available on the Internet is equal. Under this principle, Internet providers are required to make all content available to any user at the same speed. They must treat any data on the Internet the same and not discriminate or charge selectively by: user, content, website, platform, application, or method of communication.
Internet Service Provider or ISP: This is the company you pay to get Internet from. Locally, ISPs include Silver Star, Spectrum, CenturyLink, and Compunet. Nationally, they are names like Time Warner, Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.
Real life implications: Net Neutrality prevented a business like Verizon from favoring Yahoo and AOL, which it owns, by blocking Google or charging Google extra fees to connect to potential customers. Under the new rules, that would be completely legal, as long as Verizon disclosed it.
Buckrail’s opinion on what this could mean for the future of the Internet:
The future of the Internet with this deregulation will likely include service bundles or packages much like your current TV subscription. You get the base three or four channels that no one watches included and have to pay extra for everything else like, ESPN, HBO and Disney.
Imagine not being able to access Netflix or HULU without a ‘premium’ streaming video package, or not being able to go to sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram without a social media bundle. Users could be nickel-and-dimed for every single email sent or received. This deregulation gives Internet Service Providers the power to do all of that.
Under the same premise, think about how you shop online. Imagine the power and sway a company like Amazon (with a current market cap of $565B) could have over Internet providers. With this deregulation there would be nothing to prevent Amazon from paying Internet Service Providers to give them the fastest connections and give every other on-line store an extremely slow connection or block them all together.
You can imagine the implications this will have on news media outlets and your ability to access them.