Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on net neutrality. Internet activists have been campaigning to 'keep the internet free', however on the other side, cable providers claimed that this was the only way to keep down costs for the average broadband user. The outcome was that the FCC passed new rules which allowed them to strictly regulate broadband internet, keeping the internet neutral, abolishing the idea of providing priority service for large online companies.
Free and Equal
We previously wrote about the Net Neutrality argument back in April 2014. We explained the issues of not having a free internet:
"Telecoms companies in the US such as Comcast want to charge web services like Netflix for the use of their cables to deliver a smoother service due to the strain on their resources. Net Neutrality states that all data is equal regardless of the source, and should not be given preferential treatment (like Netflix has been). Net Neutrality dictates that the source of data shouldn't be discriminated against either. By singling out Netflix, the idea of Net Neutrality is being flouted."
Power to The People
The decision is great for smaller websites and internet services, as they have access to the same quality of broadband as larger companies. In terms of the "spirit" of the internet, this is a victory. Instead of being able to charge companies a premium for a better quality of service, cable companies will now have to find the money themselves in order to provide the level of connection that companies such as Netflix and Youtube need. This money may be recouped through the monthly fees paid by the average internet user. So while this is a win in one sense, it may be made up for in the amount we are charged.
The Verge have a great video summary of the entire Net Neutrality debate if you'd like to find out more.