To start off, what is net neutrality? Net neutrality says that all data is equal and there should be no discrimination or favorable treating towards any specific part of the internet. In other words, internet providers cannot charge more to certain websites in order to be in a “fast lane” and if they do not pay up, visitors would experience slow internet speeds.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to roll back net neutrality last Thursday, December 14th. It was repealed on a 3-2 party-line vote.
Senator Chuck Schumer announced yesterday that Democrats will force a vote on reinstating net neutrality, and they will only need a simple majority. This bill would override the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality. Once Doug Jones is sworn into office, Democrats will need just two votes from across the aisle with one of them coming most likely from Republican Senator Susan Collins who has voiced her disapproval against the repeal. But, it still would need to be passed in the House of Representatives where the Republicans have a 239-193 advantage, as well as not getting vetoed by President Trump.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn revealed the “Open Internet Preservation Act” which has had criticism among pro-net neutrality advocates. This act would not allow internet providers to block or throttle legal traffic, but it would also prevent the FCC from making any rules that go beyond those requirements and it would override any state laws regarding net neutrality.
On the other hand, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has promised to lead a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission along with sixteen other pledged states to keep the net neutrality rules.
Now, I know this is very complicated (and I could make it even more complex), but for you, the customer, it is important to know that more likely than not, you will not really be affected for the time being. There has been so much news surrounding the effects of the repeal of net neutrality that people have lost sight of reality. You probably will not have to pay any premiums in the near future to visit certain websites, as internet providers know that they will be ridiculed and chastised if they jack up rates now because everyone is on high alert. However, this does not mean that we should not have net neutrality because these providers will slowly increase costs in order to limit the outcry from the media.