Net Neutrality

Netflix. YouTube. Hulu. All common names in the world of online streaming and until now they were considered equal with every other online content provider.

Recently this idea of net neutrality has come under fire after the Federal Communication Commission said they want to better regulate the Internet.

Supporters of the elimination of net neutrality are telecommunication companies like Comcast and Time Warner, because they could charge companies more to deliver their data, also known as packets, in a fast lane.

“In a world without network neutrality, it would be possible for a company like Comcast to program it’s routers to reject a packet coming from a rival company, like Time Warner and that packet would not be delivered at the same rate as their own packages,” said Steve Macek, Associate Professor of Speech Communications at North Central College. “It would also work better for companies that paid for their content to be delivered faster.”

In order to prevent cable companies from purposely slowing certain packet delivery the FCC recently voted 3-2 to move forward with a plan, to prohibit that, but content providers could pay the cable companies to put their content in the fast lane.

And you, as the consumer, would feel the change when prices for things like Netflix and Amazon go up. In addition to the speed, the complete elimination of network neutrality could also hinder small online companies from growing.

“And that, according to critics would be a real disaster because what allowed the internet to blossom and allowed start-ups like Google, and Amazon to be successful is because they didn’t face this kind of discrimination from internet service providers,” said Macek.

Companies like Facebook, Youtube, and Ebay have all joined together to voice their disapproval of an Internet without neutrality.

Also joining the protest were millions of Americans who use the internet everyday.

“People started organizing. Online petitions were circulating called save the Internet, with 3 million signatures and there are demonstrations, actual physical demonstrations taking place around the country to put pressure on the FCC,” said Macek.

One thing is certain, this debate is far from being over.

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