Net Neutrality: What You Should Know

You may be asking, “What is net neutrality?”  There is a good chance, especially considering, in this day and age, where the Internet plays such major part in our lives, that you have already heard the term, but not everyone may know the specifics, or just how important the concept is. Net neutrality is the idea that all online traffic should be treated equally. The concept is that, if you pay for a certain internet connection, you should have unrestricted access to that stable connection at all time, no matter what program or website you are currently using. This applies to a variety of accesses, from simple website loading, to quick downloads, watching videos on Netflix or YouTube without interruptions, or playing games without being affected by lags and buffers. All these things sound sensible, but the fact is that some ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) want to charge both online companies and users for a twisted definition of a “fast lane.” Websites in this “fast lane” will not go faster, but will move along as if nothing ever happened, while those who refuse to pay outside their normal monthly fee will be forced to access a separate downgraded service.

Currently, you may pay a single fee every month for these services, but, if a large company like Comcast, the largest ISP in the U.S, gets their way, they could potentially have the power to charge you extra for access to social media or video streaming sites. Compare it to a situation where a local water company decides to charge you extra because you decided to use your water to make coffee instead of doing the laundry; the company doesn’t have a right to coerce you into using your water for certain things, they should only charge you for the water itself. Net neutrality prevents corporations like these from deciding what you do online and deciding how much extra you should pay. Sites potentially being slowed down to such an extent or blocked completely would be equivalent to censoring it entirely, which is completely contrary to the idea of a free and open Internet. Hopefully, you can take this information to heart, and agree that net neutrality is an ideal that needs to be preserved.