Headlines have been buzzing around about something called ‘net neutrality.’ The Quaker Campus would like to answer some of the Frequently Asked Questions about net neutrality so that the College community has a better understanding of what is at stake with repeals.
What is net neutrality?
Net neutrality means that all internet content is treated equally by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). For example, net neutrality protections have kept AT&T from slowing down Facetime calls to try and increase sales for high speed data packages.
Who protects net neutrality?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed Title II of the Communications Act in 2015, which prohibits ISPs from giving preferential treatment to certain websites, or creating separate packages based on internet speed.
What would it mean for net neutrality to be repealed?
Rolling back protections for net neutrality would mean the open internet would no longer be open. Your ISP could introduce what are called ‘fast lanes,’ where you pay more for fast, strong connections. They could also block access to certain websites, or substantially slow down access. In countries like New Zealand, which does not have net neutrality, websites are broken down into categories and consumers must pay for each category separately. For example, Netflix and CNN are two different kinds of websites, so access to both would cost more money.
Who would be affected by net neutrality repeals?
Everyone in the United States. If you have a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or a television that accesses the internet, you will be affected by net neutrality rollbacks. Right now, every American who connects to wifi receives the same internet experience regardless of their ISP, and if net neutrality precautions are overturned this will not be the case.
Why does this matter?
Net neutrality has allowed for open communication around the country. The open internet has revolutionized small business ownership, social justice movements, and the way underserved communities are able to access information. Imagine not being able to freely search the internet to do your homework or research for a project. Removing net neutrality will make access to the internet an elitists’ game, and dramatically change the way we use the internet.
What can I do to stop net neutrality rollbacks?
The FCC will vote on Dec. 14 on whether or not to repeal Title II and net neutrality with it. Three out of the five members of the FCC are Republicans, and the measures are supposed to pass. Call your Senators today to let them know net neutrality is important to you, and you advocate for open internet for all.