If you're not familiar with what exactly the term Net Neutrality is, below is the definition...
"Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating most of the Internet must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication."
You may be asking yourself, "Self, why does net neutrality even matter to me?"
Well, if you're reading this website right now it's because net neutrality exists. In simplistic terms â€“ as defined above â€“ net neutrality keeps the playing field level for all websites. Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and dozens of others, can't legally slow or throttle traffic going to and from certain websites. Without net neutrality, imagine an internet access package priced like your cable or satellite TV package...
Imagine a world where the behemoths of the internet (ESPN.com, amazon.com, Facebook.com, etc) have paid the various ISPs a premium so that their website traffic takes priority. Where does that leave some of your favorite websites, including this one? Unless this very website were to pay the fee demanded by various ISPs to be in their preferred package or "fastlane" as many have speculate, the internet as we know it could likely end. Small businesses who strive to become nationally known while starting from something operate from a basement or garage would never have a chance to grow and thrive. Other relatively small players would have their traffic slowed and suffer while the "pay to play" model would create a greater divide than already exists.
"But there's no way that something like "internet fastlanes" or traffic throttling could ever happen here in America!"
Maybe you're right but the model for it already exists elsewhere.
Take this example from Portugal.
While the language is completely foreign, the icons of many of the websites in various packages are very familiar. Imagine paying $5.00 per month for a "messaging" category. Another $5.00 per month for access to a bundle of social networks. And the categories keep going...
The reason that this is news is because the FCC â€“ under the current leadership of former Verizon executive Ajit Pai â€“ has spun his efforts to dismantle net neutrality as his latest part of deregulatory efforts.
Even more unsettling is the fact that a vote to approve "deregulation" of the internet (also known as the dismantling of net neutrality) could be approved by way of a vote by the FCC as early as its December 14th meeting.
As mentioned earlier, this move is nothing short of a favor by FCC chief Ajit Pai for the CEOs of the Verizons, Comcasts and AT&Ts of the world. By allowing various ISPs to end the "micromanaging" of the internet, he could very well hand total control of the internet to the same ISPs who have repeatedly blocked community fiber optic internet plans which would give cable television providers legitimate competition in the marketplace, kept the fastest speeds (think "Gigabit" internet) out of reach for the majority of Americans both in terms of price and access, and allowed massive consolidation to run rampant under the guise of "improved service" from ISPs who already lack viable competition in most areas.
That makes right now the time for action. It's not too late to speak out and tell your elected officials as well as those employed at the FCC that net neutrality is necessary and dismantling it as it currently exists will further stifle innovation, hurt consumers due to higher prices and turn the internet into a place where only those willing to pay have their news, views and goods readily seen by the masses.
Here's a helpful list of FCC email addresses where you can send your emails.