War Over Net Neutrality Rages On

War Over Net Neutrality Rages On

Lawmakers continue to wrangle over net neutrality – the principle that ISPs and the government should treat all data the same and refrain from discriminating or charging differentially by user, platform, equipment type, mode of communication, content, platform, or site. Currently, a bloc of congressmen is trying to gut Federal Communications Commission budgets to undermine rules protecting net neutrality.

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Net neutrality is important to all users of the Internet, whether they’re home users merely checking their email or businesses using desktop virtualization. Net neutrality gives users equal access to the Internet, ensuring that ISPs can’t create a fast lane for preferred clients, and relegate individuals and small businesses to a slow lane or block access to content the ISPs disfavor.

The FCC in 2015 upheld rules that provided strong protections for the concept of net neutrality. The new rules came after a public outcry forced the organization to shelve proposed rules that would have allowed ISPs to discriminate online and establish pay-to-play fast lanes.

Since then, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a number of bills to reduce FCC funding, undermining the agency’s ability to enforce net neutrality rules. The Obama administration has responded with a statement of administration policy supporting the FCC and decrying the House’s attempt to pull the rug from under net neutrality.

Net neutrality will likely remain a point of contention among lawmakers supported by big business interests and those advocating for equal treatment of data online.

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