The Case for Net neutrality

Net Neutrality is a pressing issue facing the internet. It pits internet service providers against websites to decide how ISPs should treat web content. This article will constantly be updated to reflect current Net Neutrality laws and potential threats.

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The Red Alert for Net Neutrality campaign started on May 9, 2018.

The FCC voted in December 2017 to repeal Net Neutrality (see below). However, the Senate will vote on a resolution that would overrule FCC and restore Net Neutrality through the Congressional Review Act. Senator Ed Markey from Massachusetts is leading the effort to pass CRA to overturn FCC decision.

Many websites have “gone red” to support the resolution. The campaign began May 9th and will continue until the vote. Fight for the Future is spearheading the movement, which is also known as the “Red Alert for Net Neutrality”. Demand Progress and Free Press Action are supporting the cause.

Recent History

The landmark 3-2 decision by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission on February 26, 2015 was a significant one. It decided that the Internet would be treated as a public utility in the same way it treated the telephone and the television broadcast systems during the 20th century. This decision meant that the “American” internet, just like the National Football League (NFL), would have rules and a referee — the FCC–to enforce these rules in the name net neutrality.

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This state of affairs did not last for long. The FCC voted 3-2 on December 14th 2017 to end net neutrality.

The concept of net neutrality

Wikipedia states that internet neutrality or “network” should be based on the principle of “Internet service providers (ISPs), and governments treating all data on the Internet equally.” This means that they should not charge or discriminate by content, site, platform or application.

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In 2003, Columbia law professor Tim Wu published Network Neutrality and Broadband Discrimination, which first promoted the idea of net neutrality. Wu covers all aspects of neutrality in his 2003 paper, Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination. There are three types of applications (apps), data and quality-of-service (QoS)-sensitive traffic and dangers from two-tiered Internet access.

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Net neutrality: Leveling the playing field

Net neutrality advocates claim that small businesses will have a greater chance of succeeding online than large conglomerates with their wealthy lawyers and lobbyists. The backbone of America’s digital economy is small and medium-sized businesses. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to spend huge resources (bandwidths, hardware infrastructure, etc.). On a “fast lane” internet, which only the wealthy can access on an ongoing basis. It will hinder technological and marketing innovation and give too much power to a few. A return to the robber baron era exploitative and oligopolistic capitalism is something that almost everyone does not want.