Net Neutrality and You

This PBS Newshour interview with Washington Post writer Cecilia Kang reviews the most recent FCC net neutrality rules. I couldn’t get it to embed, so here’s the link:

VIDEO: FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

For those of you who, like myself, are new to “net neutrality,” it appears to be the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) should allow users to access all legal forms of data equally. What’s interesting is that I always kind of assumed that access to bandwidth-heavy sites would improve as Internet speeds and bandwidth capabilities increased. I had no idea that ISPs like Comcast would try to block such sites. In my mind, if they’re going to restrict access to sites like Netflix or Hulu or BitTorrent, they should tell you so you can shop around for another ISP. Or pay for a different bandwidth tier, although as time passes access to information should cost less, not more. I think this is still possible under what the FCC approved on December 21, 2010. But at the same time, as Ms. Kang mentions at the end of the PBS Newshour interview, access to wireless Internet is problematic because minorities access the Internet on their phones “more than anyone else.” How does favoring cable providers over mobile providers help ensure equal data access for everyone? Does it make you suspicious when companies like cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner call the FCC rules “balanced” while mobile providers like Verizon remain critical?

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