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Net neutrality – what it is and why people are freaking out if it ends?

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Net Neutrality

Over the past few months, you would have seen this term over the internet or heard about it over the news. Some of you may be wondering that what is net neutrality?

Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers must treat all data on the internet in the same way, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. In simple words, it means all websites will load just as fast as any other site when you access them from your computer or mobile. From posting on Facebook or Twitter to streaming Netflix and shopping online, your internet speed for all these activities is the same under our current net neutral system. But all this could change very soon!

Federal Communications Commission (FCC), under the rule of Trump’s presidency, wants to put an end to net neutrality and give Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) the liberty to pick and choose which websites you’ll have access to, while others may not load at all.

People are worried that this will lead to a package model same as dish TV channel or cable packages are sold by cable providers. This will allow your ISP to put extra charges on popular websites such as Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, etc. Due to this, some websites may not even load if you don’t want to pay the extra charges.

All major websites have come out in support of net neutrality. Facebook and Google plan to throw their collective efforts and work as a team to save net neutrality. The Internet Association declared on Friday that it plans to join charges aimed at fighting the Federal Communications Commission’s December action to revoke net neutrality rules. The association represents many smaller companies in addition to the bigger players such as Google and Facebook.

 “This rule defies the will of a bipartisan majority of Americans and fails to preserve a free and open internet.”

Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman

Despite these statements made by the CEO of The Internet Association, it does not plan to file a lawsuit on its own, but will rather join legal action taken by others.

Several government representatives and advocacy groups have said they plan legal action, but all have to wait until the repeal order is published officially in the Federal Register. The New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman assured people that he’ll file suit and the attorneys general in several other states, including Illinois, Massachusetts, and Washington, promised to join the suit.

Unfortunately, consumers like us cannot do much on whether net neutrality stays or goes as the FCC’s decision is made by a 5-member board, and 3 of the 5 have already said that they will be voting to revoke net neutrality. This means that it already looks like net neutrality is off the charts now! Let’s see what happens as the official vote will take place on 14th December.

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