The internet has evolved over the years to become one of the central means of communicating and bringing information to the masses.  Computers and devices are becoming more connected everyday, as new technology uses the internet for useful data to use for it's consumers.  Though as more services fight for a larger portion of the internet space it has called into question the fairness of use that these services require to provide their content to the end consumer.

What is Net Neutrality

So what is Net Neutrality, and what does it have to do with the internet?  To understand Net Neutrality we'll have to understand a little about how content providers get their content to the end consumer.

When someone visit's a website they are requesting data from a server or series of servers which are hosted by the company somewhere in the world.  The content the server provides back to the website visitor travels across a series of networks controlled by various companies and ISP's in what is known as the larger 'World Wide Web'.  The content is then provided to the visitor through their browser.

For a long time, that was it- no questions asked.  However as the definition of content began to expand, the demand for such content expanded with it.  This created more stress for the companies providing the connections across the internet for content providers and internet users.  The internet was no longer being used for websites to only provide text and pictures.  Now companies like Netflix, and Hulu were using the internet to stream high definition videos. Companies like 3CX and Skype use the internet to facilitate High Quality voice calls. Other content creators like video game studios were relying more on the internet as well.

This caused the major companies who provided the networks the internet relied on to reevaluate their role in providing these connections.  As content became more in demand, these companies have had to upgrade and rebuild their network infrastructures to keep up, which has come at a hefty cost to the major internet providers.

Proposed Solutions

One of the proposed solutions major internet providers came up with was creating premium 'Fast Lanes' which allow content providers to pay a premium cost for using an optimized connection.  The idea hear would be allowing major content providers to put their traffic on a faster network alleviating traffic in the larger 'normal' speed internet lanes.  However advocates for Net Neutrality argue that this would allow a few small internet providers to pick winners and losers among content providers.  This also raises the question of censorship, allowing internet providers to force content they deem undesirable to not have access to the optimized 'Fast Lanes'.

It is widely understood that the cost of premium fast lanes will be passed down to the consumer. If you use Netflix for example, you'll likely see an increase in membership costs since they will likely want to use a Fast Lane to continue providing video content to their customers without interruption.

Net Neutrality Going Forward

In 2014 the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) officially made the internet a Title II entity, putting it in the same class of regulation as electricity, water, or gas.  This action forced internet providers to remain neutral, and continue to provide the same speed and access to the internet to all content providers.

However under new management, the FCC is rethinking its strategy on Net Neutrality.  Arguing that the government is enacting undue control over what internet providers can and can't do with the network they provide.  For many months the FCC took comments from the public and are now moving forward with a vote to remove the Title II enactment on the internet and effectively bring an end to what has become known as 'Net Neutrality'.

Whatever side of the debate you fall on, it's important to educate yourself and know how Net Neutrality effects you.  Read more about the changes on their official site.

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