As an update on net neutrality, it was in late February this year that the FCC officially classified the Internet as a public utility. What that means for you is that Internet service providers can’t block or slow down the content of any specific companies.
So there is no two-tier Internet, with some websites loading quickly while others who can’t afford to pay and therefore load slowly. You can play Angry Birds on your phone all day and night and if you’re paying for unlimited data, your phone company can’t slow down speeds once you hit a certain limit. And your Netflix accounts should keep running smoothly; it had been one of the harder hit companies before the regulation happened.
Plus, content creators have a more level playing field, so start-ups and smaller companies can play with the larger, more established companies. It involved updating a part of the 1934 Communications Act, and it’s definitely a win for activists and a step in the right track to keeping the Internet free and available to all.
The Bad and The Ugly
With this ruling, however, you’re still going to have to go through the same carrier (Time Warner, Comcast, AT&T, etc) and pay whatever cost they’re charging for internet.
And it’s still not a set in stone win.
Telecoms are threatening and looking to file lawsuits against the FCC decision, with the main issue around prohibiting Internet providers from unreasonable interference of consumer web access saying that the rules will cost too much to implement. Which seems as though it could mean justification of higher costs passed on to consumers.
And as of mid-April, some members of Congress have aimed to repeal the new rules of the FCC which could result in elimination of the updated net neutrality rules.
So the fight for Internet freedom has had some positive milestones, but the fight isn’t over. We’ll be able to keep you updated on how this plays out.