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What is Net Neutrality?

Radha Bhavsar, Staff Writer

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Net neutrality is a hot topic these days. I see a lot of things going around social media like “when you wake up tomorrow you’re going to have to pay $1.99 for searching anything on Google, it’s going to be this amount for Snapchat per month”…and other bs. NO. This is not true. Some people don’t even know what net neutrality is. Let me clear the definition. Net neutrality means the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular websites.

Let’s learn what net neutrality IS NOT. This has existed for 2 years and it was passed by the Obama administration. We all know that REPEALING will not be the end of internet. Also, the internet will not become expensive and we won’t go back to stone age where we played with sticks and stones to entertain ourselves or passing letters to communicate. Every website won’t have separate charges. For everyone reading this… Twitter won’t be $14.99 a month and Google will never charge $1.99 per search.

Let’s learn what it ACTUALLY IS. Net neutrality ALWAYS existed. Another thing was about paying to go on sites like Google,Instagram etc, without net neutrality it is the ISP’s choice to charge you money. They can also charge you specifically just to have access to those sites. For example, if Comcast could start charging $10 for a Social Media package, which might give you access to sites like Google, Youtube, Instagram etc. Then Comcast might charge you another $10 for having the News package for websites like MSNBC, CNN etc. That is what they will have the power to do. They will also get to decide in which category everything goes.

On one hand, we have these big companies called internet service providers (ISP) like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T etc. that you pay to give your internet service and on the other hand you have other companies (content providers) like Snapchat, Instagram, Google, Twitter etc. that keep you entertained. The battle is between these two: content providers and ISPs. Content providers must go through an ISP to get their content to people. Content providers use up most of the world’s bandwidth while small websites only get to use small portion of bandwidth. For example- A 30 minute Youtube uses more data than 1 page Wikipedia read. For this reason, the ISPs want to charge content providers more for using up a lot of their bandwidth on their internet service.  In 2015, new rules were put into place saying that ISP could not charge content providers different prices to deliver their content to the people and sites that can’t afford to pay can’t have their sites slowed down or blocked by ISPs. That is what n neutrality really is. In other words, ISPs cannot show favoritism towards content providers. They must be neutral about the content on the internet they provide to the people and how fast they provide it, with the speed of all sites remaining the same.

So, no need to freak out. Yes, things might change and get a bit more expensive, but you aren’t suddenly going to have to actually talk to people to find out what is going on.

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