29.12.2017, by Frederique de Roos
What is Net Neutrality?
The 14th of December of 2017, was a big day in the history of the free net, because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoked Net Neutrality in the US.
The FCC is a five-bodied commision that regulates the laws surrounding communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. Out of all the members, which are appointed by the president, only three commissioners are allowed to be members of the same political party. On top of that, none of them may have a financial interest in any FCC-related business. The vote on revoking ‘Net Neutrality’ on the 14th came down to the three Republicans voting ‘yes’ and the two Democrats voting ‘no’.
Now we know who made the final decision, we come to the question: what is Net Neutrality?
In the simplest of terms Net Neutrality can be split into three basic rules.
- “Broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
- They may not impair or degrade lawful internet traffic on the basis of content, application, services, or any classes thereof.
- They may not favor some internet traffic over other internet traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind — no paid prioritization or fast lanes.”
Net Neutrality, or as some people might call it, ‘Title II’, was proposed in 2014 and subsequently implemented by the FCC in 2015 under the Obama administration. Since the internet is relatively new in the world of laws and regulations, there hadn’t been any clear legal protections requiring net neutrality before then. Opinions on the bill were of course varied, as it natural for Republicans and Democrats to disagree on any kind of policy, but public opinion has generally been in favour of the provision.
If you would like to read more about what net neutrality means and what impact it will have on our future, be sure to read the second article Net Neutrality: Part Two.