Ajit Pai, President Trump’s new FCC chairman, has plans to do away with net neutrality rules that have been in place for the last three years. Pai argues the rules are too burdensome and that they stifle innovation and competition. William Brangham discusses the changes in oversight with Pai.
We’re talking here about what’s known as net neutrality, not the easiest concept to grasp, so bear with me.
Almost all of us in America get our Internet access via one main provider. These are the telecom and cable giants like Verizon sites and apps like Google, Netflix, Facebook, Instagram, you name it.
The telecoms build the highway. The others guys are like the cars traveling that highway.
The idea of net neutrality is that the telecoms have to treat that highway as an open road. They can’t pick and choose which Web sites or services get to you faster or slower. The fear is that, if they do have that power, they will be tempted to favor their content, their sites, their own videos over a competitor's.
But the telecoms argue that’s not fair, they should be able to control that flow, and be able to charge more for faster access.
Net neutrality lets the internet be for everyone. If big companies can charge people different amounts to use the internet, then they can control who can use the internet, which ruins free speech. It is also unfair for smaller companies that can't afford to pay the extra price. Net neutrality protects the freedom of the internet.
Net Neutrality creates a free and open internet. Net neutrality began in 2014 when Tom Wheeler released a plan that would allow AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon to discriminate online and create a pay-to-play fast lanes. Regulators across the globe are grappling with issues about the internet and debating net neutrality. The FCC or Federal Communications Commission is in charge of net neutrality and placing rules on internet in the U.S. Net neutrality gives the government more power over the internet. Although the government would be monitoring the internet, it is only to ensure that internet service providers are not discriminating against certain people. Net neutrality preserves our right to communicate freely online.
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