What is it? It’s the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or website.
That is to say, that the data you receive whether from a service like Netflix’s or a search on Google is treated the same.
The FCC has rules regarding the use of the Internet bandwidth as it is considered a utility. Under the previous Chairman of the FCC, legal content websites and services could not be charged an additional fee to be in a faster lane or to keep from being blocked. There are exceptions to this, such as heart monitor traffic and public service traffic.
There are two sides for Net Neutrality.
The ISP (Internet Service Providers like Cox, AT&T, and Satellite services) and the Service Companies (Netflix or Hulu) and websites (The CW as an example).
The ISPs are trying to balance the flow of data between all users and still provide quality of service while the Services and Websites only concern themselves with themselves. An example of this is a bandwidth meter called Fast.com which only measures the connection to Netflix not your bandwidth to the rest of the internet as a whole.
Currently, the FCC has had a new Chairman put in place.
Ajit Pai is the new Chairman of the FCC and he has undone some of the regulations that were put in place by his predecessor. One aspect of this is that he is closing investigations against wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon who have seemingly broken the Net Neutrality rules by allowing company owned data to not count against their users streaming plans while not offering the same to competitors (Hulu, Netflix, The CW), this could be seen as a step away from net neutrality.
This could signal providers that there is wiggle room for controlling content and data. Which will require the FCC and perhaps congress to step in and do more in terms of guidelines for net neutrality. So, what does this mean for consumers?
There are several possible outcomes based on what direction Chairmen Pai goes with this.
It is likely we will see more data free offerings by providers for content owned material. Such as AT&T’s Direct TV streaming. Content providers could, in theory, make deals for the creation of a fast line for their data through partnerships.
That said, if you have a fast lane, that means you’re going to have a slow lane.
Right now it’s too early to tell if Chairmen Pai is going to try to reign in the ISPs or if he is simply a fan of deregulation and letting the services decide what they want to do.
As more and more steaming of Movies and Music comes online, something will have to be done.
If you have questions about this or any other technology related issue, you can come by and visit us at 111 South Summit Street in downtown Ark City. You can also call us at 620-442-5091, send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message us on Facebook at Mcdonald's Computer Service.