What You Need To Know About Net Neutrality

By James Treuthardt

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Net neutrality is the concept that internet service providers must give equal internet access to all. Further, it must not discriminate based on platform, user, website or any other factor.


Net neutrality passed under the Obama Administration in 2015. It ensured an open internet by treating the internet as a communications utility. This means it operates under regulations similar to the phone service rather than as an information service.


Ajit Pai, the current FCC Chairman, aims to repeal net neutrality and deregulate the internet. The vote to repeal net neutrality is set for December 14th.


Two sides represent the argument for and against net neutrality. The proponents are technology companies like Google, Netflix, and Facebook and the opponents are telecommunications companies who provide internet access like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon.


Tech companies like Google argue that repealing net neutrality would lead to telecommunications companies blocking or limiting access to certain websites and charging websites for priority access.


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In a statement, Google said “no Internet access provider should block or degrade Internet traffic, nor should they sell ‘fast lanes’ that prioritize particular Internet services over others.”


However, David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast, said in a statement that Comcast supports “ permanent, strong, legally enforceable net neutrality rules. We don’t and won’t block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content.”


They argue that their issue with net neutrality stems not from an inability to discriminate against certain users, but rather a disagreement with the specific Title II regulations adopted by the FCC.


The continued debate between tech companies and internet service providers about the repeal of net neutrality centers around exactly what ISP’s will do if net neutrality gets repealed.


To some, competition and innovation will increase. But to others, the repeal of net neutrality represents a dangerous limiting of an open and free Internet.