Net Neutrality: So What’s Going To Change?

Contributed by BreAnna Bell

After the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repealing of net neutrality, the new law went into effect on Monday. Though, experts say they don’t foresee any immediate major changes to the internet as we know it, there is still reason to worry.

Before its repeal, The Obama administration enforced net neutrality as the set of rules which limited and prohibited internet service providers from charging more for certain content or giving preferential treatment to certain websites.

The rules which were repealed focused on three main sectors: blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization.

Blocking, meaning service providers could not block consumers from viewing certain sites. Throttling, which prevented service providers from slowing the transmission of data because of the content’s nature, as long as the content was legal.

Under the paid prioritization rule, service providers could not create an internet fast lane for companies and consumers who paid premiums, and a slow lane for those who didn’t. 

Some consumer advocates believe that since it has been repealed, service providers will begin to sell internet bundles, much like cable TV packages, where popular high traffic sites such as Facebook or Google will be under a premium internet package. Consumers may suffer from big businesses and media companies being the main sites consumers will have access to. Those from affluent homes would be able to afford a larger variety of sites and streaming services, but those without, will have to remain without. The repealing of the paid prioritization could leave small businesses with the short end of the stick in competition with major companies.

As lawmakers are working quickly now to reinstate it, during this time, service providers are still able to take advantage of the ruling now meaning they have more freedom to block, speed up, or slow down access to certain content. The measure to restore net neutrality passed the Senate on May 16, but fell short 50 votes in the House.

Those living in certain states may not have to worry about net neutrality. Some states have decided to make their own net neutrality laws to keep their residents protected. In New York and Montana, governors signed executive orders to keep net neutrality rules while others, including Oregon and Washington, have passed state laws preventing internet service providers from giving priority to certain content.

 

To learn more about net neutrality, see here.

WHUR Contributor


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