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Offline mayya

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Why net neutrality is a big deal
« on: July 27, 2015, 11:09:39 AM »
Why net neutrality is a big deal

JOANNA ALLHANDS
Joanna Allhands, The Republic | azcentral.com1:58 p.m. MST July 22, 2015

(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
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(This blog was originally published on Feb. 4, 2015.)

If you're not in the tech industry, you're probably not salivating over today's big net-neutrality announcement.

But if you're reading this, that means you're on the Internet. And if you're on the Internet, the issue affects how you find and consume crazy cat videos and all sorts of other legal web content.
So, yeah, it's kind of a big deal.

In a nutshell, the Federal Communications Commission wants to reclassify Internet service providers as utilities so it can regulate them. And, yes, that includes wireless Internet carriers, like Verizon and AT&T.
The goal? To outlaw these ISPs from blocking, throttling or allowing some content producers to pay extra for prioritized content.

What does that mean in practical terms? The Oatmeal explains it well. (Caveat: the piece is strongly for net neutrality. But, hey, it illustrates the issue with lots of simple pictures. And, let's face it, the non-techies among us – me included – need that.)

So, yeah, as you can imagine, ISPs are ticked, because they don't want to fall under the FCC's umbrella (and, frankly, they stand to make huge bank from prioritizing content. CEO bonuses are at stake here).
Which means there will be lawsuits.

Congress is getting involved, because it thinks legislation can outlaw throttling and blocking without getting the FCC involved. Some lawmakers also worry that the utility classification will make it more difficult for ISPs to invest in their networks.

Tech interests say that's bull-hockey and question whether Congress can pass anything meaningful, particularly when ISPs have such powerful lobbying arms.
And, of course, limited-government folks are freaking out, because they think the FCC's proposed utility reclassification will lead to red tape and mass government intrusion. It's the Obamacare of the Internet, they tell us.

Personally? I'm OK with what the FCC has proposed. Yeah, I worry about over-regulation. But I have even less confidence that Congress can legislate an open Internet.

And, ultimately, isn't that what we want here? A fast form of the Interwebs that doesn't play favorites. One that lets us find content based on its merits (or lack thereof), not on how much someone pays to get it out there.

http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/joannaallhands/2015/02/04/fcc-net-neutrality-utility/22873817/