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Everything You Need To Know About Net Neutrality

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The department of telecommunications committee is set to meet for the second time on February 12th to discuss setting public policy guidelines on ‘net neutrality.’  FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, saying “the time to settle the Net Neutrality question has arrived,” offered a proposal in January that would conform mobile and fixed broadband providers to utility regulations.

The FCC is supposed to vote on the new regulations on February 26th, and, according to Tim Wu of The New Yorker, “barring any surprises, Wheeler’s strong version of net neutrality will soon be the law of the land.”

Net neutrality is considered to be an idea about mobile and online fairness.  It says that internet providers should treat all web traffic equally by not slowing down or speeding up internet connections that favor some businesses over other customers.  The idea is to ensure internet providers do not slow down online streaming services such as Netflix in exchange for an extra fee to stay connected on a ‘fast lane.’

The proposed draft asks that several key prohibitions be used on internet providers.  The prohibitions include a ban on being able to block legal internet and web services, a ban on throttling one internet over another, or slowing down one internet over the other, along a ban on speeding up internet traffic in exchange for extra money.

Manufacturing Business Technology’s John Minnick wrote that, “Under the proposal, Internet providers can’t charge any business a premium to insure that they have access to the web, can’t throttle service and can’t block access to legal websites.” An internet without net neutrality regulations, The New York Times Editorial Board argues, “would prejudice start-ups that do not have the deep pockets of established players, like, say, Amazon or YouTube, to pay the premium fees.”