Net Neutrality: Why It Matters


Net Neutrality is a set of guiding principles outlined in the Obama Administration's Open Internet Order (OIO) which states all traffic on the internet must be treated equally by internet service providers (ISP). Internet neutrality ensures that ISPs such as Comcast, Verizon, CenturyLink, AT&T, etc, cannot slow down or disable websites at their discretion, and must treat all content equally. In December 2017, the Trump Administration's newly appointed head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai, rescinded the OIO clearing the way for ISPs to charge a premium for select content while slowing, or outright blocking, other content. This is important for two reasons: (1) Access to accurate information is crucial to maintaining an informed electorate and functioning democracy; (2) Large, established business will gain an unfair advantage over small, start-up enterprises. America is built on egalitarian ideals, and while many industries are heavily subsidized by the US Government, e.g., energy, farming, etc., there remains a cultural ethic of fair play. While large-scale companies can afford to pay more to distribute their content under the FCC's new rules, small-scale companies cannot, and will be challenged to bring new products to market. This change will result in decreased competition and increased prices for consumers. If you find the FCC's rollback of the Open Internet Order disturbing, please contact your Congressional leaders today.