What is Net Neutrality and How Does it Affect Us?
It's a set of rules that went into effect in 2015 to prevent speed traps on the information super highway
NATIONAL (CNN) — The FCC voted to approve a plan that puts an end to net neutrality rules.
But what exactly does this mean and how does it affect you at home?
What is net neutrality?
It has nothing to do with a volleyball or a tennis court.
The “net” refers to the internet, something that has become necessary as water and power for most of us.
The neutrality part is about keeping the net the way it is today.
It’s a set of rules that went into effect in 2015 to prevent speed traps on the information super highway.
In other words, speeding up access to some sites and slowing down access to others, or blocking some sites entirely.
So, are these rules a “bad” thing?
It depends on who you ask.
The companies that deliver your internet, like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T have spent millions in lobbying money to get rid of net neutrality, arguing that having the government micromanage their business is not good for them, or their consumers.
On the other side, are internet giants like Facebook and Google, streaming services like Netflix, and former President Obama.
They all argue that the internet is a public good and should be regulated like one.
They also say that companies that own the pipelines could play favorites.
For example, a content provider like Netflix is in direct competition with Comcast, which owns NBC Universal and controls access to the internet for more than 20 million customers.
You can imagine a scenario where NBC would want to speed up streams of its shows and slow down streams of its rival, Netflix.
Now, Netflix can afford to pay for the fast lane because it’s worth more than $70 billion, but the next Netflix, some awesome startup, can’t.
Today’s vote is not the last word.
Pro-net neutrality groups say they are going to challenge the FCC’s decision.