You might have heard the phrase net neutrality being used a lot in the past couple of years. It involves a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Policy called The Open Internet Order, which is a set of rules that says internet service providers have to be open – or not secretive – about their businesses, and it stopped companies from blocking any content published online. But Verizon challenged those rules in court earlier this year – and won their case.
So the FCC has changed its rules in a way that they will hold up in court – and stay within existing laws – to say that companies ARE allowed to accept payment for better service, in this case faster streaming and downloading speeds. And while it might sound like and OK deal if you can afford it, many internet companies can’t compete against giant corporations who want to get their content, and advertising, in front of users. It could also mean that some companies who provide internet service AND content will be able to give preference to their own content over that of competitors.
The FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, explained the thinking behind the FCC position in a blog post. “Businesses like to make money, and so if they have a little too much power, that is what the government is there for and they need to look out for that, and at the same time we don’t want rules that are in place that are going to stifle innovation and gong to make people not want to invest in businesses and new ideas.”
It’s a complicated issue, but it’s also an important one as more stuff in our daily life involves what happens online. We want to know where you stand. Vote in the poll and tell us what you think, then leave a comment explaining why.