In December 2017, the FCC voted to remove rules that regulated the companies that connect users to the internet. These Network Neutrality rules forced internet providers to treat all internet traffic equally. Whether video, email, instant message or website, a carrier would have to transport all bits (a bit is the smallest unit of information) the same.
Without regulation, it is possible for an Internet Services Provider (ISP - generally your cable or phone company) to block some services, degrade other services, or force services to pay for access. Imagine if your cable bill priced internet access to Facebook separate from access to Netflix. Imagine if the Fox News website wouldn’t load but the New York Times website did. Imagine if, to launch a new website, you had to negotiate a separate agreement with the ISP in each geography you wanted to serve. It isn’t likely that ISPs would do something so obvious or controversial, but they now have the power to do so.
Topics: From the Desk of Harry Polishook