Network Neutrality is the idea that Internet service providers should treat all data on the web equally without discrimination towards certain websites, users or applications. Effectively, it creates an equal playing field for all types of content to compete fairly. Without it, ISPs could allow certain companies to pay to prioritize their own data over others, creating an “Internet Fast Lane.”
Net Neutrality is key to ensuring an open Internet that creates a platform for free speech, innovation and civic engagement. An attack on Net Neutrality is an attack on the open Internet and everything it provides for consumers and companies alike. If Network Neutrality rules are no longer enforced, ISPs will be able to block their competitors content and block dissenting speech.
The Trump administration is bringing in Net Neutrality opponent Ajit Pai to head the Federal Communications Commission. Pai has openly spoken against Net Neutrality, claiming the regulations that protect it stifle investment in Internet infrastructure and limit job creation. Pai promised to “take a weed wacker” to these regulations in a speech made about the FCC.
This pick will give the GOP a majority in the FCC and the ability to overturn changes made during the Obama administration that protected Net Neutrality and the open Internet. The new FCC will likely lessen regulations placed on large ISPs and overall have a more “industry friendly” approach.
The overturn of regulations will allow ISPs to charge more, resulting in higher broadband prices but less speed and less options for the consumer. To protect against this, voice your support for Net Neutrality or donate to organizations working to protect online freedoms like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Americans Civil Liberties Union and Free Press organization.