When the President talks about net neutrality, we feel the need to inform our customers. Obama says it would "end the Internet as we know it," by allowing service providers to create fast and slow lanes. Just imagine…internet controlled by cable providers like Time Warner, Comcast and Verizon. Due to net neutrality rules adopted by the FCC in 2010, broadband providers, were prohibited from prioritizing certain Internet traffic.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 gave the FCC power over companies depending on whether they are a common carrier. Common carriers are public like telephone networks, and they cannot favor certain consumers. The FCC categorized Internet service providers as information services instead of telecommunication services, which exempted them from common carrier rules.
Obama has a plan that includes classifying consumer broadband service as a public utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.
Here's a list of things that could radically alter how the Internet as you know it works without net neutrality:
Services that consumers use without paying a special fee to Internet service providers (ISPs) will not work as well because they will be excluded from the ISP's "fast lane."
Services offered by an ISP that now have a fee could be more expensive, because those companies may pass the fee on to users. For example, companies like Netflix, which is the largest user of bandwidth in the U.S., may pay more to ISPs to make sure their content is accessible to customers.
A reduced amount of innovation
ISP fees will make it more expensive and harder to launch new services, especially for small companies not tied to existing players. Ultimately, the Internet will look more like cable television -- with a handful of players and a high barrier to entry -- and less like the Internet as we know it today.
Faster service for some, but not others.
Operating under the assumption that paid partnerships between ISPs and content providers will equal faster Internet and a better consumer experience, the consumers and content providers would likely be losers. In the case of the local media outlet, for example, which would be unable to pay more to be delivered on the 'fast lane,' they may find that their consumers leave their site before the multimedia content loads.
Greater technological divide by income, demographic
A child in a rural area who loses the ability to video conference with her physician specialist, a single dad who can no longer take his online college courses or a community media outlet in the inner city that is charged more to distribute its news -- these are real losses.
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