A world map, representing the internet, which is something net neutrality wishes to protect.

Till this day, the government still debates the value of net neutrality.

Net neutrality has been and continues to be a hot-button issue. As Google defines it, net neutrality is “The principle that internet service should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.” Find out what this issue is about and how the government of the United States has handled it.

A Brief History

Back in 2003, media law professor Tim Wu coined the infamous term and reinvigorated the idea that access to the internet should be the same for everyone. It’s the idea that no one (user, website, business, application company, etc.) should be discriminately given poor internet service or charged differently than others.

During the Obama’s presidency, his administration was largely in favor of the principle, putting into place rules to protect it.  In 2015, the U.S. Federal Communication Commission (FCC) reclassified the internet as a telecommunications service. This essentially treats the internet in a similar way to electricity, gas, and water. The law instills the following rules:

  • Companies cannot prioritize one piece of content over the other.
  • Broadband providers cannot block lawful content.
  • Providers cannot slow down or throttle certain content or services.

The State of Net Neutrality

With the election of President Donald Trump, the state of net neutrality is in question. His administration seeks to reverse the rules put into place in 2015.

Former Verizon lawyer, Ajit Pai, is now the chairman in charge of the FCC. He started out in the FCC as a commissioner and during his time has been an opponent of net neutrality. His new position might put him one step further towards achieving the Trump administration’s goal.

For more than a decade, several groups have debated for and against net neutrality. Check back with us next week as we list why people are for and against net neutrality.