Net Neutrality has been a hot topic recently, and with good reason. Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a new net neutrality policy that will help keep the Internet openly available to all.
The Open Internet Order helps to decide an essential question about how the Internet works, requiring service providers to be a neutral gateway instead of handling different types of Internet traffic in different ways — and at different costs. (NPR)
Essentially, this will prevent Internet Service Providers like Verizon, Time Warner Cable, etc., from being allowed to restrict internet speeds or block certain content from users. It also means that the Internet will be treated like a public utility. A nice quote from an NY Times article sums it up pretty nicely, in that “no content is blocked and that the Internet is not divided into pay-to-play fast lanes for Internet and media companies that can afford it and slow lanes for everyone else.”
The 2 Republicans voting against the policy claim that these regulations are unnecessary and are “likely to deter investment, undermine innovation and ultimately harm consumers.” Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t follow that logic. I believe that the Internet is a public good which should be available to everyone. Taking regulatory steps to ensure that it is treated as such and is not exploited by huge private corporations isn’t going to stop people from continued innovation. Free speech and open access to the Internet is frankly more important than some theoretical opinion that this will hurt businesses.
I’m pretty sure Verizon will be okay – I’m more concerned about that puzzled little YouTube face over there up on the right and hoping we never actually see a message like that.