What is Net Neutrality and how does it impact you?

Yesterday the big news was that the Trump government ended the Net Neutrality. The report says the internet as we know it is dead. And it can be true. The FCC, which stands for Federal Communication Commission and is responsible for telecommunication and radio diffusion regulations, voted yesterday against the Net Neutrality regulation instated during the Obama mandate. But what does that mean exactly?

Net Neutrality

So far the internet has been neutral. That means that providers charge the same amount of money for you to browse all websites. But lately, some of them started to see an opportunity. The cost is less for specific sites they are partners with, making it easier for those websites to attract and keep users. It happened already with Netflix, HBO GO, Facebook, and other consolidated pages. And this takes out the chance for other websites that provide the same service to thrive. Here is a video explaining it a straightforward and useful way.

What happened yesterday?

Trump promised and delivered, that for every regulation created, two pre-existing ones go down. The Net Neutrality, a provision that forbids providers from making it easier to access some websites, and harder (or even impossible) to access others, is among the cuts. The institution that voted for that was the FCC, but there are ways to reverse that decision.

What now?

The American Congress can stop the decision, and Senator Ed Markey is already working on it. Beyond that, the Congress can be pressured by the public to revisit the repeal to this regulation.

Net Neutrality in Europe

As this all happened in the US, in Europe Net Neutrality is still the rule since 2010. Although with its breaches. If you live in Europe you probably already saw some telecom companies offering free access to individual service providers, like Spotify, that practice is zero rating. Although this might be cool for the consumer, it also violated the Net Neutrality rule, where providers should give the same access to every application or website. So practices like this were also seen in court, and as they are still allowed, we can expect more laws reflecting the matter. In consequence, Net Neutrality regulations in Europe are still one of the stronger in the world, and in constant work.

How does it impact me?

If Net Neutrality regulations didn’t exist, the internet could ultimately become like television or radio; only a few people would decide what content you receive. Your provider could limit or deny you access to specific services while giving you free and fast access to others. It all depends on which applications are paying the “tool” to the telecom companies. That would also make entrepreneurship harder, as if you want to create a service that competes with others that have zero rating, it would be almost impossible.