On December 14th, 2017 the Federal Communications Commission (a board of 5 commissioners) repealed net neutrality and Sarah Schunk joins The Edge podcast to fill us in on what the repeal means. Sarah first takes us back and describes how net neutrality came into place in February of 2015 when the FCC reclassified broad band providers (Comcast, AT&T, Verizon) as common carriers and opted to regulate broad band carriers as utilities. By classifying broad band providers as utilities, the FCC had the authority to make sure broad band providers couldn’t block, throttle or interfere with web traffic. This means that everyone had the same access to web traffic, content and internet speed no matter who you were, where you were or what content you were seeking. Those regulations have ended, which means broad band providers (ISPs) are not considered common carriers or utilities and can now block, throttle or interfere with your web traffic
The repeal of net neutrality means that individuals and organizations are going to have to pay to consume and produce the high speed, unblocked internet experience that we’re used to. With a pay to play scenario, the internet will likely have two distant tiers; One tier is a high speed and fast internet with access to all content, which only those who have the means to pay for such internet experiences will have access to such as large organizations and affluent households. The second tier will be slow internet with blocked content for those who don’t have the means to pay the price for speedy, premium broad band services such as public schools, libraries, small businesses, startups and majority of U.S. households.
People who are for the repeal of net neutrality believe that it enhances innovation because it’s an opportunity for the internet services providers to offer innovation to compete. But people against it say that there can’t be a chance for innovation if small businesses and startups are only able to compete against large organizations if they have the resources to pay for an equal internet experience for their consumers.
What will come of the internet as a result of the repeal of net neutrality will take a few weeks if not months to fully come into place. In the meantime, take a listen to this The Edge podcast episode to that you’re fully informed and can consider your personal and professional game plan.