Net Neutrality: The What, Why and How

What Is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is a principle which prohibits Internet providers from treating traffic online differently. Specifically, it stops them from blocking access to certain content, throttling – or slowing down – Internet traffic and implementing paid prioritization (or “fast lanes”) for sites that pay extra. Net neutrality guidelines implement these concepts to regulate large ISPs, prevent them from manipulating your traffic and allowing for a “fair” marketplace.

Who Should Care?

Anyone who uses the Internet should care about net neutrality, as the repeal of the guidelines will have serious implications for all Internet users. Resistance to the repeal of existing net neutrality guidelines is coming from a variety of angles – from individuals to large businesses – so it’s important to join in the fight and make your voice heard.

Why Should You Care?

Without net neutrality guidelines you might:

  • Experience slower Internet speeds when conducting certain activities online (for example streaming video or gaming)
  • Be forced to choose between paying more for Internet or experiencing slower speeds
  • Be subjected to whatever content your provider wants you to see (usually based on what content that provider owns, as they’d have incentive to show you their own content over a competitor’s)
  • Pay more for access to the Internet in general

How To Talk About It

Choose a Side: Do you support maintaining the net neutrality guidelines currently in place, or do you oppose them? (the vast majority of people – outside of huge broadband monopolies like Verizon and Comcast fall on the “support” side of the argument)

Know the Lingo: Net neutrality is the principle, while net neutrality guidelines, enacted under something called “Title ll,” refer to the actual legislation and rules in place

Know the Players: The United States FCC – or Federal Communications Commission – is currently responsible for the net neutrality guidelines. They are also the ones trying to repeal them

Fight Back: You can contact congress or attend a protest in advance of December 14 to get involved.  One large effort can be viewed at: https://www.battleforthenet.com/

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