What is net neutrality?

This important concept is rather complex


Nassir Price, Staff Writer

The entire net neutrality situation took the internet by storm in 2017. Many people around the world were wondering what this actually meant, but many people were misinformed about the importance of net neutrality.

It is a complex concept that is deeper than it may seem. To explain it as simple as possible, the data that is shared around the world through videos, information, and much more is owned by internet service providers. These internet service providers like Verizon and AT&T used to be regulated by laws, but that is all changing.

Net neutrality is essentially the basic principle that prohibits internet service providers from speeding up, slowing down, or blocking any content, applications, or websites you want to use. We have been experiencing the net neutrality way of life for a long time. The biggest problem with the net neutrality rules being changed is how much power the big internet service provider companies will have. For an example, Comcast would have much control on whatever you want to access through the internet as they will have the ability to block the content or slow down the information given to you.

Ajit Pai is the FCC chairman and he is one of the main factors when discussing net neutrality. Most of the big problem with net neutrality is the proxy war between telecom companies like Comcast and the rivals they have to deal with such as Facebook and Netflix. It is essentially a fight for billions of dollars in advertising.

Although net neutrality is already complicated as it is, for the full repeal to be final, the FCC will still have some administrative work to complete. There is hope for net neutrality to be saved as there are plenty of activist groups like Public Knowledge and Free Press that will sue the FCC when they have the chance to.

AT&T wants Congress to settle the internet freedom debate by passing a federal net neutrality law. They are clearly wanting to Congress to write new laws and govern the internet to protect consumers and to help dissolve the problem once and for all. Randall L. Stephenson, President of AT&T Inc., delivered a quote that shows his support for net neutrality.

“We don’t block websites. We don’t censor online content. And we don’t throttle, discriminate, or degrade network performance based on content. Period,” Stephenson said.

Net neutrality is important to the everyday person. We may not see how big the chances are now, but they will come back to haunt us in the future if they are not stopped. Net neutrality laws being taken away will make the way we use the internet change dramatically and it would be a bad reason instead of a good reason.