Net Neutrality in a Nutshell

What is net neutrality and why is it making news lately? Tech Talker explains.

Eric Escobar,
January 22, 2014
Episode #109

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Is Net Neutrality Dead?

Well, last week the FCC’s original rule protecting net neutrality pretty much got thrown out the window! This means that companies are free to do whatever they want and don’t have to treat all data the same.

You probably won’t notice any sweeping changes anytime soon. But over time I’m sure you and I as consumers will begin to notice subtle differences. For example, early this January AT&T announced a “Sponsored Data” program that allows for companies to pay AT&T so that AT&T customers can view their website without incurring any data usage.

You might be thinking, "Well, that’s awesome! I can surf some websites with no data usage at all. Excellent!"

Sure, that's great for you the consumer...until the costs are reflected back in almost every sector of the economy.

So are there any positives about this unequal internet? Well…maybe. If ISPs get an increase in revenue for speeding up traffic to specific websites, it may encourage them to boost speeds and infrastructure everywhere. It may also mean lower prices for some aspects of internet service (such as with AT&T’s no data meter for certain websites).

Personally, I’m not buying it.

What Can you Do About Net Inequality?

So what can you do? I suggest checking out savetheinternet.com which is a website dedicated to fighting for net neutrality. You should also write to your local politicial representatives and make your stance known.

Overall though, the most powerful thing you can do is vote with your wallet. If you feel strongly, don’t do business with companies that do not support net neutrality. You should also spread the word and share the knowledge. The more people are aware of this situation, the greater chance we have of keeping the internet open! 

Well, that’s it for today. Be sure to check out all my earlier episodes at quickanddirtytips.com/tech-talker. And if you have further questions about this podcast or want to make a suggestion for a future episode, post them on Facebook.com/QDTtechtalker.

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!

Inequality image courtesy of Shutterstock.


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