Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #493 3/11/2020

Question: What is net neutrality?


Net neutrality is once again in the news. In 2015 the FCC implemented Net Neutrality. Then a basic repeal (some parts repealed and some modified) took affect in June 2018. Now there are lawsuits coming to the forefront in the courts with rulings expected soon.

Net neutrality is simply a rule to prevent Internet Service Providers (ISP) from charging providers of content for sending it faster thru their net or slowing the speed of content from providers that do not pay or that the ISP wishes to penalize.

The ISP is the company such as Comcast, Charter, Pineland, etc. that provides you with your access to the Internet. Content is anything that is delivered across the Internet.

By either providing faster or slower services, then the ISP could decide for instance that Disney would pay them extra for delivering Disney+ faster and since Netflix may not pay they would cut their speed, which then means Disney+ works better than Netflix (each of products and companies named in article are just random examples and I have no knowledge of them doing anything adverse in this realm to consumers.).

Net Neutrality does not stop ISPs from charging different rates for different speeds of service. It also would not have made a difference with fire department in California when the large fires that bought a limited cell service plan and when they exceeded their usage amount for the month their speed was reduced making it harder to coordinate fire fighters. That was lack of planning on the fire departmentís part to either have gotten a larger plan or struck a deal with ISP/cell provider that if they exceeded plan at any point they would be increased on plan for month at a higher fee.

Another comparison is the express lanes in Atlanta now on I-75. If we had highway neutrality those lanes could be used by all vehicles and not just those paying to use them. As it is there is no highway neutrality so when I go along I-75 in the Atlanta area since I will not pay for using the lanes, I cannot use them, and I have to go where more traffic. But cars who pay deliver their content (drivers and passengers) quicker to their destination.