Net Neutrality – What the Heck is it? (News Analysis)

by Kevin Swenson

Recently, Senator Ted Cruz took to twitter to comment on the state of the United States Internet and Internet Service providers (ISPs) as well as Net Neutrality.

Net Neutrality, in its plainest definition, is the idea that the Internet is something that the should not be controlled by who pays the highest. The Washington Post creates a great analogy for this in the form of a hotel. If you use hotel internet, you must pay more the faster you want your internet to load. This is essentially what the opponents of Net Neutrality want; Comcast, Time Warner and others want to charge services, such as Netflix, more to run faster. This in turn would cause the user, you and I, to pay more for their service in order to keep the service afloat. As it stands, there are ISPs that are slowing down certain services, but it is not nationwide.

The Washington Post believes, however, that President Barack Obama has made a smart and bold political move by standing with Net Neutrality. President Obama, in the last couple of months, has made a point to stand with a “free and open” internet, a phrase used to talk about Net Neutrality. Obama, having made a stand to fight for a neutral internet, has given over the task on how to make it so to the FCC, who recently elected a new head of department.

This issue of Net Neutrality has taken the communities of the Internet by storm. Well known cartoonist and internet presence “The Oatmeal” has taken to his art to communicate a direct response to Senator Cruz in his piece called: “Dear Senator Ted Cruz…”. A more crass take on the issue as well as the well placed humor, The Oatmeal here wishes to show his readers the issues, if only to a semi-serious degree.

As the ongoing and muffled battle for Net neutrality goes on, many people in the internet community are concerned about this issue not becoming bipartisan. Many fear that one side will stand against Net Neutrality simply because President Obama is standing for it. Ideally, this should not happen but the reality is that U.S. politics tends to become less about the issues and more about which side is on which.

A few things to keep in mind about Net Neutrality:

1) If you do not use the Internet,  this is fascinating, but also doesn’t mean you’re exempt from the issue. It is impossible to say that nobody uses the internet ever. The services it provides are a huge asset to us and if ISPs are allowed to charge more, causing us to pay more, then that is a problem.

2) Monopolies are illegal in the U.S.. Period. There is no logical reason why companies should be able to pay to slow down or speed up service, except that it benefits them. If it is not benefiting you, why would you do nothing about it?

3) Even if the whole political scheme is not for you, remember this: Your Netflix, Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and all your other favorite websites will be slowed down unless you either pay for faster internet, or you pay more for the service depending on the service itself.

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