Letter: Research net neutrality
“Net neutrality” is the concept that all content on the internet be treated the same, regardless of its source. What this means is that the Internet Service Providers (ISP), such as Comcast, Verizon, etc., cannot treat content providers differently by either charging them a fee for access to their internet “pipes” or changing the speed at which the content is delivered, or outright blocking that content.
With net neutrality, the ISPs must make their money by charging consumers for the speed and amount of data they are delivered. The higher the speed or the greater the data cap, the more the consumer can be charged, regardless of where the content comes from, which is as it should be.
So what would the elimination of “net neutrality” potentially mean to the consumer? We have already seen attempts by some of the ISPs to charge Netflix extra to access to their pipes. If an ISP chose to start a competing service to Netflix, they could either up the rates they charge for access, a charge that would be passed along to the consumer, or they could throttle the speed such that the consumer simply gave up on Netflix, or both. And there would be nothing to prevent the ISP from throttling or blocking content that was critical of that ISP or anything else they didn’t like.
In poll after poll, when the consumer understands what net neutrality means, they overwhelmingly favor it. (As a note, the comments registered with the FCC’s website are suspect as a great portion of them, both pro and con, appear to have been robo generated).
It is time to recognize ISPs for what they are — monopolies — and regulate them as such.