What is Net Neutrality and Why Does It Matter?

Craig Pollack | Jul 12, 2017

Fight For Net Neutrality

Happy Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality! Yes, there's a day for this. Today, July 12th, is an event organized by Fight for the Future, an organization founded to support net neutrality and fight the big communication companies looking to control the internet.

So, let's start with the obvious - what is Net Neutrality?

Per wikipedia, net neutrality is "the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet must treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication."

A widely-cited example of a violation of net neutrality principles was when the Internet service provider Comcast was secretly slowing (a.k.a. "throttling") uploads from peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P) applications by using forged packets. In 2004, The Madison River Communications company was fined $15,000 by the FCC for restricting their customer’s access to Vonage which was rivaling their own services. AT&T was also caught limiting access to FaceTime, so only those users who paid for the new shared data plans could access the application.

When you think about it, this is a pretty scary concept.  Without net neutrality those in control of delivering the internet could control what we have access to by favoring some content over others, charging increased fees to access certain content, or even limiting certain content outright! Think about if AT&T struck up a deal with Amazon and then throttled competitors to Amazon Prime. What if you had AT&T and you couldn't access Netflix, Hulu, HBOGO, or others? What if the government starts restricting content? This could truly be 1984 for real!

As you can see, this could be a slippery slope leading to a completely different internet paradigm than we currently experience - let alone a different paradigm for communications and truth in general!

Currently, it looks like the FCC is looking to end net neutrality and give big cable companies and carriers control over what we see and do online. If they get their way, they’ll allow widespread throttling, blocking, censorship, and extra fees.

Nearly everyone who understands and depends on the internet supports the concept of net neutrality, whether they're startup founders, activists, gamers, politicians, investors, comedians, YouTube stars, or typical Internet users who just want their Internet to work as advertised—regardless of their political party.

Today’s protest, which comes five days before the first public comment deadline on the FCC’s proposal, is a concerted effort to stop Internet service providers (ISPs) and the government from regulating the Web.

You can join the fight here: Fight for the Future.

What do you think? Has this info been helpful? Let us know in the Comment box below or shoot me an email if you’d like to chat about this in more detail.

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Author

Craig Pollack

Craig Pollack

Craig is the Founder & CEO of FPA Technology Services, Inc. Craig provides the strategy and direction for FPA, ensuring its clients, business owners, and key decision makers leverage technology as efficiently and effectively as possible. With over 25 years of experience building the preeminent IT Service Provider in the Southern California area, Craig is one of the area’s leading authorities on how small to mid-sized businesses can best secure and leverage their technology to achieve their business objectives.

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