The Debate About Net Neutrality - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

Lawmakers are fighting over net neutrality again—and it doesn’t look good for consumers.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is a big deal. It prohibits broadband providers, like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and others, from giving or selling access to fast internet connections to some internet services but not others. Unfortunately, most politicians have no idea what net neutrality is… or how it has the potential to give companies a monopoly (and therefore price-gouge us all) on the data we use and share every day.

Who’s Messing With Net Neutrality Rules?

The head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai (who was nominated by President Donald Trump in January), wants to repeal the rules that former President Barack Obama put into place in 2015.

Obama’s rules reclassified internet service providers, or ISPs, as if they were utilities. According to Pai, though, those rules are unnecessary and can harm our tenuous employment numbers.

A statement by Twitter lambasted Pai’s suggestions, saying, “Net Neutrality is foundational to competitive, free enterprise, entrepreneurial market entry – and reaching global customers. You don’t have to be a big shot to compete. Anyone with a great idea, a unique perspective to share, and a compelling vision can get in the game.”

Netflix, Amazon, and other giants are against rescinding the rules, too. Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and other ISPs are all for it because if the rules are changed, they’ll be able to charge you more to stream data, shop online, or even give consumers access to your own website. People who don’t pay for data plans that include those things won’t get them—and that limits nearly every company’s reach.

The Internet Association, a group that represents Google, Facebook, and a handful of other companies, said that the rules are working the way they are; reversing them “will result in a worse internet for consumers and less innovation online.”

The rules changes will affect everyone, from the grandma who works on her family tree online to kids who participate in online gaming.

You can learn more about fighting against the change to give ISPs the ability to price-gouge here.

What Do You Think?

Share your thoughts on the net neutrality debate on my Facebook page or join the conversation on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino