Net neutrality has sparked legitimate concerns among Americans. For example, will costs from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) skyrocket if this principle is not adhered to? Or most importantly, will we still be able to watch a 12-hour binge of Netflix for the one monthly price? Net neutrality is defined as “the principle that ISPs should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites” (Google definition). This also includes the government enabling access to all content. However, as of late February, those in favor of net neutrality have won the war…so far.
On February 26, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the policy known as net neutrality. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that the policy ensures “that no one—whether government or corporate—should control free open access to the Internet.” This Open Internet Order requires ISPs to be neutral, instead of imposing restrictions and skyrocketing costs. For instance, with the aforementioned Netflix binge (hey, we all do it), if there was not net neutrality, your ISP could charge you extra for exceeding a monthly watching allowance. It would be similar to exceeding your phone minutes or data plan, and you would be charged for it. Most Americans are in favor of net neutrality to keep costs down, and the FCC approving this policy is a major step for consumers.
However, there are naysayers. Two Republicans, Michael O’Rielly and Ajut Pai, argue that government shouldn’t overstep its authority into commerce. Yet the FCC treats ISPs as carriers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. Therefore, the FCC treats these carriers as public utilities. The Republicans’ other complaint? That the 300-plus-page document was not released to the public or openly debated. To receive more information and facts on net neutrality and its approval by the FCC, please read more in this piece by NPR.