Net NeutralityThe 21st Century, commonly referred to as the Information Age, is largely dependent on the Internet. The Internet has historically been an open medium, as it provides access to the world’s largest collection of information. In order to protect this establishment, The Federal Communications Committee (FCC), a government agency which serves as an authority on communications law, regulation, and technological advancement, put in place a set of laws, called the Open Internet Order, in order to establish a concept of net neutrality. These net neutrality laws stood in effect until January 14, 2014, when a Federal Appeals Court struck down the Open Internet Order, on the grounds that the FCC had overstepped its authority to regulate this field. Net neutrality, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, is “the fact or principle of Internet service providers enabling access to all content and applications regardless of the source or destination, and without favoring or blocking particular formats, products, web sites, etc.Order now
” (net, n.1). That means that if two users share a common Internet Service Provider (ISP), they are entitled to the same quality of service regardless of data size. If one user is downloading large music files, while the other is sending an email, their quality of service should be the same. Net neutrality laws are important and necessary because they protect against Internet Service Providers forming monopolies on the market, screening the content a user can view, and stifling freedom of speech. By shooting down the FCC’s Open Internet Act, doors have been opened to Internet Service Providers to be price hungry merchants, ultimately hurting content providers and customers alike.
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