The term “net neutrality” refers to the idea that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should enable equal access to all traffic traversing their networks. Net neutrality has been debated in politics and around the country for 15 years, and it continues to be a hotly contested issue.
This last December, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality rules, a move which gave ISPs the ability to slow down or block access to websites and charge extra fees for priority access to consumers. On February 22, this administrative action was made official when it was published in the Federal Register.
Supporters and Opponents
Supporters of net neutrality take the position that these new rules could be bad for consumers by hindering free speech, reducing competition on the Internet and by disadvantaging Internet startups. These supporters state that the new rules also offer little potential gain for consumers.
Opponents of net neutrality take the position that consumer outrage will prevent ISPs from engaging in discriminatory practices. Opponents of net neutrality also state that the benefits to consumers could be significant.
In politics, the divide is great. Republican lawmakers largely oppose net neutrality, while democratic lawmakers largely support it.
What This Means for You
With the FCC rules newly published in the Federal Register, Senate lawmakers who oppose the new FCC rules have 60 legislative days to find support for a resolution that would block the repeal under the Congressional Review Act. The resolution would need support in the House and support from the president.
At the same time, organizations that intend to challenge the FCC in court are filing lawsuits. Many lawsuits will be filed within 10 days of the publication of the rules by the FCC. Lawsuits filed within the 10-day window will all be considered as filing simultaneously. To determine which federal appeals court will hear which lawsuit, a lottery will be drawn. No one knows where the lawsuits will go from here.
At this time, it’s unclear how the new net neutrality rules will impact customers. It’s too early for rules to affect ISP business practices. Some consumers believe that the new rules could encourage ISP companies to bundle access to Internet sites. Consumers may pay to access sites they want without having access to other sites.
Another concern that consumers have is that broadband companies will create a “fast” and “slow” lane that requires businesses to pay more money to ensure high-speed access to their content. It is impossible to know at this point where the real changes will take place and who will be most affected by them, because the FCC’s ruling is still too new.
A Statement from PS LIGHTWAVE
PS LIGHTWAVE will not be charging content providers, will not prioritize traffic from one site over the other and will not delay download speeds from any provider. This would impact customer access to sites, and would thus go against our customer-focused business practices. PS LIGHTWAVE is committed to providing a quality service for customers at affordable prices. For more information about how PS LIGHTWAVE will be handling the net neutrality rules, contact us.