What Is Net Neutrality?
Many people understand that Net Neutrality is an important issue that we need to pay attention to, but most people don’t fully grasp exactly what Net Neutrality is. For those of you who don’t know what Net Neutrality is, take solace in the fact that you’re not alone. Net Neutrality is the principle that every ounce of traffic on the internet should be treated equally.
This means that there shouldn’t be a way for large corporations or companies to charge extra for various services, prices, or websites to use. For instance, instead of paying one fee to get internet, video, email, and streaming access, you would have to pay a separate fee for each service.
Another aspect of Net Neutrality is that it protects consumers from data throttling and additional prices associated with data usage. Without Net Neutrality, large companies can charge consumers extra for certain thresholds for internet usage.
In addition to paying a separate fee for each service, there is no limitation on how much you could be charged.
Net Neutrality would safeguard internet users from being blocked from certain websites, or web applications due to the fact that the “big guys” don’t want you to see it.
In addition, Net Neutrality safeguards internet users from content favoritism. Content favoritism is essentially when one piece of content is highlighted over another due to the fact that the company paid an extra fee to essentially price out their competitors.
This means that large companies with large budgets can create a content monopoly on the internet, and drive out competitors with ease.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to end the Open Internet Order, thus repealing Net Neutrality. In addition, they transferred responsibility for policing the internet to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
What Impact Does Net Neutrality Have On The United States Of America?
Net Neutrality was critical to ensure protections for consumers in the United States. Without Net Neutrality, many individuals feel that additional charges might be incurred by the average customer, prices will rise, and additional censorship will become a reality.
Who Is Going To Safeguard the Internet Now?
With the repeal of Net Neutrality, one of the main concerns is who is going to be safeguarding the internet now, and ultimately protecting consumers. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will ultimately be policing the internet now.
They will essentially be the new police force, charged with protecting consumers and taking action against companies they feel violate consumer rights and anti-trust agreements.
In addition, the FTC will take action against certain contracts that they deem might affect customers or engage in anti-competitive actions that would escalate consumer prices in the long run.
Although it sounds like the FTC has the responsibility of keeping customers and consumers safe in the long run, there are many complications that still exist.
Ultimately, internet users have to be protected by individual actions and private companies who have the systems set in place to provide ample cyber security measures and protect consumers online.
Is the FTC Equipped To Make Sure That Broadband Companies Don’t Harm Consumers?
Quite frankly, the FTC is not equipped to make sure that broadband companies don’t harm consumers. The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for dealing with all types of consumer protection and regulating industry competition. The problem is that adding to their full plate will make it incredibly difficult for them to protect internet consumers.
In other words, the FCC has passed the torch onto another agency that won’t be able to handle the workload as well as the FCC could – which means that consumers are no longer protected like they previously were.
In addition, there are certain legislative matters that need to be considered. The FTC is unable to make new rules that would protect consumers. The FCC had new-rule powers, that could enable them to write anti-trust or price-gouging protections that would help consumers, but the FTC is unable to make those same rules.
The FTC can only safeguard consumers by taking action against companies who make voluntary commitments to uphold Net Neutrality principles, or deal with anti-trust cases. Even if they choose to deal with anti-trust cases, those cases take time to develop and then have to go through additional legal proceedings that take a long time.
If companies do not sign a voluntary document or commit as an industry to honor Net Neutrality, then the FTC will have no way of protecting consumers in the same fashion that the Open Internet Order legislation was able to provide.
What About Internet Fast Lanes?
The dangerous thing about the repeal of Net Neutrality is the fact that companies can now charge for premium services, such as Internet Fast Lanes. For those of you who don’t know what that means, Internet Fast Lanes are essentially the rate at which companies can provide services like Netflix or YouTube to consumers.
This means that large corporations and companies can now charge additional prices to deliver Netflix Streaming at speeds of 5gb instead of speeds at Netflix Streaming 1gb. Before, there were protections in place to safeguard consumers from being taken advantage of.
In addition, the removal of these safeguards means that startups could be in danger because their services and/or network cannot compete with their competitors who offer a similar product and have more capital to spend.
Without Net Neutrality, and limited protections in place to safeguard Internet Fast Lanes, there is a large concern growing that companies will begin taking advantage of their consumer-base and price out their competitors.
Luckily, there are companies that are working for businesses and individual consumers like Datacenters.com. Datacenters.com helps companies and business navigate the changing environment of internet fast lanes so that both companies and individuals can access internet fast lanes without restriction or additional charges.
Do We Still Have Any of the Old Rules Left In Place?
Fortunately, there is still one rule left in place from Open Internet Order. The one rule that is still left over from the old legislation requires internet and broadband providers to disclose how they go about managing their networks.
This means that the FCC is now requiring internet service providers to detail how, when, and under what various circumstances could cause them to block or slow traffic. In addition, the rule requires that they disclose what they offer as a priority paid service.
The problem for is that even though they are required to disclose the information, it doesn’t establish how the FCC is going to safeguard consumers, or how consumers will gain access to that information. This means that consumers can still be taken advantage of.
What It All Means For The Rest Of Us?
With all of these Net Neutrality changes, the way we use the internet for the foreseeable future will be completely different. It won’t be a subtle change either, these changes consumers will experience will be drastic.
The leading argument for repealing Net Neutrality is that by pulling back regulations for companies, ultimately it will help those companies invest in their infrastructure and drive costs down for consumers or offer additional packages that will be beneficial for consumers.
The problem is that there is no guarantee this will happen, or that it will ultimately benefit consumers in the long run. It’s all guesswork. This means that the future benefits that are being pitched to the rest of us aren’t a realistic interpretation of what might actually happen.
The repeal of Net Neutrality means that less power is in the hands of individual consumers, and more power is placed in the hands of powerful internet service providers. This means that there is a growing desire amongst the general public for additional cyber security to protect individual consumers and private companies.
Companies like Datacenters.com offer opportunities navigate net neutrality complications, gain access to internet fast lanes, and acquire more band width to ensure that individuals and smaller businesses don’t get drowned out or squeezed out from some of the largest competitors in the marketplace.
The next stage of figuring out the status of Net Neutrality is quite complicated. There are both private and public lawsuits filed against the FCC to reinstate and preserve Net Neutrality rules. Some of the largest companies that have filed suit against the FCC include: Vimeo, Kickstarter, Mozilla, and Foursquare.
These companies argue in each of their own cases that the FCC has a right to change the classification of broadband and to protect Net Neutrality moving forward.
In addition to private and public lawsuits, state legislatures and governing bodies are getting involved as well. Roughly twenty states have all taken measures to protect Net Neutrality in their state. Some of the states that have proposed measures or commitments to safeguarding consumers and individual businesses include: California, Connecticut, Maryland, and New York.
Already there has been a success on the state-level, as Washington became the first state to sign new legislature into law, and Governors from New Jersey and Montana have enacted executive orders that require internet service providers to abide by former Net Neutrality principles in their state.
Congressional members have also recently pushed a new initiative to force a vote on the US Congress Senate floor to preserve Net Neutrality.
Moving forward, consumers and businesses need to support these initiatives and continue to raise awareness about the dangers of not having Net Neutrality.
What Can We Do Now?
There are plenty of things that individual consumers and businesses can do to help preserve Net Neutrality, and safeguard their access to the internet moving forward.
The first is to continue to push state legislatures to enact legislation that preserves Net Neutrality principles. The second is to continually voice support for those candidates who align with Net Neutrality principles and vote for them in local and state-wide government elections.
In addition, take steps to safeguard your internet access through the use of powerful companies like Datacenters.com, which helps both individuals and business navigate the changing environment of Net Neutrality, provide additional bandwidth for growing companies, and provide access to internet fast lanes.
What Do You Think?
What is your opinion on the recent changes to Net Neutrality? Do you think they will help businesses or consumers in the long run? What are some of the challenges you see moving forward in regards to Net Neutrality? Let us know your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you.
What Does Net Neutrality Mean For Your Business?
Knowing how net neutrality affects your business is critical to ensuring future success. If you’re interested in learning more about how Net Neutrality will affect your business, find out by contacting Datacenters.com.