Do I Need To Change Anything After The End Of Net Neutrality?

Soon Internet service providers such as Verizon and AT&T might be free of all Obama-era net neutrality regulations. That means that the Internet as we know it could start changing, and those changes might not be for the best since it could become a less free and open place. Nevertheless, the Senate has approved to overturn the FCC's repeal of those regulations. Though that's great news, for this overturn to be implemented, the legislature still needs to go through the House of Representatives and the White House as well. Critics state that there's not a lot of faith that this will happen. However, it is essential to look into the potential changes and their effects on the way we experience the Internet. Also, we'll include a few ideas of how you should approach such potential changes to net neutrality rules.

What you need to know about net neutrality

Initially, the term net neutrality has been coined by Tim Wu in his 2003 paper, where he argued for a concept of an open and free Internet. In other words, the idea was to showcase a model that should ensure level playing ground for everyone on the Internet. To put it in simpler terms, net neutrality is the idea that ISPs would provide the Internet as a public utility without having any power over the way the traffic works and what content can be reached; everything should be treated equality on the Internet.

A bill that instilled these ideas was approved by the FCC in February 2015. It officially recognized the Internet as a public utility and placed restrictions on broadband providers. Right up until December 14, 2017, net neutrality regulations were all in place. However, on that day the FCC voted to repeal the previous rules. Quite naturally, there's been a big backlash. That's mostly so because advocates for net neutrality stated that an open and free Internet is essential for innovation. Taking away such regulations could not only have negative effects on the tech industry but the way we access information online altogether.

What happens when net neutrality is gone

Critics of net neutrality repeal, point out quite a few concerning issues. Over the last few years, you might've heard terms such as the Internet fast or slow lanes, Internet bundles, and bandwidth throttling. These are all valid concerns that can and will likely affect your life online.

If broadband providers are not overseen, they might be able to provide you digital content on slow and fast lanes. In such a case, large companies might be able to buy their way onto those fast lanes, which would allow Internet users to reach their content quicker. It goes without saying that in such a case, the higher fees for extra bandwidth would be redirected to the consumers. For instance, a service like Netflix might start charging its customers extra for high-resolution streaming. Also, due to all of this, larger businesses would have a serious edge on its smaller competitors.

In other instances, broadband providers could offer Internet bundles based on the way you use the Internet. In such a sense these packages might seem quite similar to cable-style bundles. It is theorized that telecommunication corporations would present users with allocated bandwidth plans limited to specific online services.

While these are the primary concerns, you should know that there is uneasiness about censorship. Due to non-regulatory nature, broadband companies might be able to restrict access to certain sites if their views do not align with theirs. Also, that could lead to unstable competition in the market since large ISPs could compromise their competitors.

Being fully aware of how the repeal of net neutrality affects the Internet as we know it is essential for every individual. Unfortunately, the outcomes at the moment seem somewhat grim, to put it mildly.

Overview

Even though at the moment it seems like nothing's changed, and the net neutrality fight is being fought, there're things that you might need to consider thinking about if everything fails.

If your broadband bill goes up, you might want to look closer into your online habits and make a decision how you spend your time on the Internet. Also, if the cable-style bundles come into the market, you might want to see, which online service you use the most to save as much money as possible.

Furthermore, you should be aware that some digital content could be filtered by your ISPs. Thus, before getting your broadband plan, you might want to see if the provider offers everything that you are after.

If you happen to run your business online, you might feel the repeal of net neutrality rules in the most extreme way. That's so because you might have to rethink your strategies entirely as soon as the previous regulations are no longer in place. You might want to reassess your audience, goals, etc. as you continue.

Though the net neutrality rules were crafted to level the playing field on the Internet for everyone, their repeal will be felt individually for the most part since the Internet might become much more fragmented. It is best to be prepared for the time when the bill is no longer in place. At the moment, everything is somewhat uncertain; hoping for the best is all we can do. For what's to come, we'll just have to wait and see.

June 25, 2018

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