Yesterday, a major decision passed through the FCC as it voted on new rules that will govern the sticky issue of net neutrality in the US. Net neutrality has been a wildly debated subject for years, with everyone from content web sites, Internet providers, wired and wireless networks, and organizations representing end users being all over the map on this subject. Some wanted the government to pass new regulations that would prevent Internet providers from say, slowing down your access to Netflix just because they have their own video site that they want you to use instead. Others argued that if the government does get involved, it could bring much more trouble for the Internet as a whole than the benefit it would add. Others still argued that the free market will handle itself, and that no rules should be added.
So far there had been no real decision either way, with the FCC, the body mandated to govern those things, not having made any clear decision. This changed today as the institution passed a set of rules that help define this. The rules are quite complicated, but suffice it to say pretty much everyone who isn't a big business is unhappy with them. On one side, the new rules do prevent Internet providers from blocking or slowing down access to competing web sites, but it does allow content providers to pay networks to have access to a fast line, bringing their data in priority. Many say the rules are too broad and vague, and fail to address some points. It also leaves a lot of freedoms to wireless providers to, for example, block access to specific apps on your cellphone.
While the debate rages on however, it's important to recognize that these rules simply give formal authority to the federal government to regulate these issues, it doesn't directly change the rules of the game for companies. The new rules will go into effect next year, and could still be blocked by Congress. They are also likely to be challenged in court by any of the parties involved in the discussions.
You can help show your support in the fight for net neutrality at Save the Internet.
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We know that just about everyone reading Gear Live loves the Internet - either that, or they happened upon us by typoing their true destination, Dear Love. However, if you are one of those who has enjoyed the Internet for what it is, and don’t want to see it take an immense step back here in the USA, you have five days to let congress know that. Luckily, Save The Internet makes it super easy to do - all you do is fill out a form, and they make sure it gets to where it needs to go. This is crunch time in the battle for Net Neutrality.
Net Neutrality is essential to free speech, equal opportunity and economic innovation in America. Since the FCC removed this basic protection in 2005, the top executives of phone and cable companies have stated their intention to become the Internet’s gatekeepers and to discriminate against Web sites that don’t pay their added tolls.
This fundamental change would end the open Internet as we know it. It would damage my ability to connect with others, share information and participate in our 21st century democracy and economy. The FCC must ensure that broadband providers do not block, interfere with or discriminate against any lawful Internet traffic based on its ownership, source or destination.
Hit the link below to find out more.
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