The in’s and out’s of Net Neutrality

Hey guys! Creating my first digital trend page was an exciting, yet terrifying task. How could I choose where to start? How was I going to make my debut into the fabulous world of blogging? While scrolling through my Pinterest page and ferociously “pinning” new abstract decorating ideas and delicious recipes (that I will unfortunately never make…*thank you dorm life*) to my personal page, I stumbled upon this incredible picture that led me to choose my first topic: NET NEUTRALITY! I was so surprised to see a picture of something directly related to what we have been recently focusing on in class, but it made me realize just how important the current debate over Net Neutrality is to networking as we know it. Do not be alarmed… I was unsure of what Net Neutrality was just a few short weeks ago. However, it is a topic that every Internet user should be aware of.3X6L3Jg

Net Neutrality is the idea that your Internet Service Providers (Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, ext.) must treat all Internet traffic equally and cannot discriminate against their users. They should not “block” or slow down services, or charge users more for accessing certain websites. Supporters of net neutrality believe that the pipes run by ISP’s should remain “dumb” to prevent the companies from obtaining too much control over it’s users. While there has been a much heated debate between the Federal Communications Commission and ISP’s for many years, we currently do not have Net Neutrality regulations in the United States. However, this could be subject to change very soon.

While the Internet has been flourishing openly for many years, newly popular sites such as Netflix, Youtube, other on-demand video services, and social networking sites are taking up a lot of bandwidth and service from ISP’s. The ISP’s think that these companies should have to pay to move their  data, and these services disagree because web services should not discriminate in the service they provide

According to the AP last week,

“A top U.S. regulator just announced he wants more power to oversee Internet service, much in the same way that the government already regulates phone service and other public utilities. The goal is to prevent Internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Sprint and T-Mobile from blocking or slowing down Web traffic, or striking deals with companies that provide content like Amazon, Google or Netflix to move their data faster than others”

The only problem is… back in 2005 the Federal Communications Committee labeled the way we access the Internet as “Information Services”, which gives the FCC less regulation and ISP’s more ability to control services. The FCC has tried to reclassify broadband serves as “Telecommunications Services” and enact the “Open Internet Rules”, but their efforts were struck down by DC Circuit Courts last year because their reasoning using Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act did not have enough inherent support. While this extended debate has many different viewpoints, there is hope for a decision on February 26th, 2015!

“Chairman Wheeler wants to subject all Internet service, including wireless, to Title II of the 1934 Communications Act. This is the same law that governs phone service and gives the FCC broad authority to ensure everyone has access.”

The five-member FCC board will meet to vote on the issue, but a clear decision might not be made until the upcoming years because of legal issues and political pressures. So as for us savvy Internet users…this decision will probably not have a large impact right away. However, it’s implications will be very influential in the future and could bring more taxes. How could Net Neutrality implications impact YOU? In my opinion, we should be able to access all sites without discrimination and our voices should be heard! It is important that users stay up to date with the debate over net neutrality, and get involved with protecting their rights and voice. If ISP’s had more control, I probably would not have been able to discover this fabulous photo while casually “pinning” my life away. The fact of the matter is: issues of net neutrality are among us users, and we have to be informed and educated about what that means to us!

 

Check it out and all of the other incredibly informative articles about Net Neutrality to stay up to date!

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