) 27. 1.26.11 Net Neutrality: Changing the Future of Internet Access Ashleigh Phillips, StaffWriter The Internet is bound less: any given minute, Internet users can access whatever they want. For example: update your Facebook status with a link to Youtube video that’s a hilarious trailer to an awful horror film from the ‘80s that you read about on Wikipedia and then go Skype your bestie about it. In ternet users carelessly hop from one thing to the next with ease: this limitlessness is why users love it and use it constantly. Users have come to rely on this relationship, but there is some conflict behind the scenes that may change it soon. The Federal Commu nications.Commission (FCC) recently approved a set of rules to regulate network neutrality., For those unfamiliar with the concept, Wikipedia defines net neutrality as “a principle pro posed for users’ access to net works participating in the Inter net. The principle advocates no restrictions by Internet service providers and governments on content, sites, platforms, the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and the modes of communication.” More basi cally, net neutrality is the idea that Internet service providers should not be allowed to limit user access through censorship or high prices. A complex web of legal issues, engineering chal lenges, and economic forces that the average Internet user never r^THISISS considers keep an open Internet running and currently these dif ferent factions are competing to determine how internet access will be regulated. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said that the rules “were designed to achieve the commission’s many objectives: to protect consumers, to spur inno vation, to encourage investment in broadband and technology.” As agreeable as the description of the rules sound, there has been much opposition. Dissenters of ; these rules believe the FCC is over reaching with too much regula tion. Net neutrality advocates be lieve the rules don’t reach enough and should enforce stricter rules. According to the New York Times subject page on the issue, two conroversies fuel the conflict. The first is whether Internet ser vice providers may block consum ers’ access to websites, which in its strictest forms would infringe on the right of free speech. The sec ond deals with cost. Can Internet service providers charge content providers a fee to reach consum ers or charge consumers different prices for different speeds? Ana lysts are generally in agreement that blocking access to websites is prohibited. Tiered or prioritized content packages that charge more or less based on data use may or may not be allowed, but charging consumers for higher speeds is okay. The question still remains if any of these rules will apply to the State & Locah Meredith T-shirts, Arizona Shooting Aftermath, Chinese President in Washington Arts & Entertainment: Hucldeberry Finn, Lion King, Golden;, Globes, Local Beat Campus Life: Summer Study Abroad Opportunities, Grathwdhl ^Lecture Aaoi ebr JliNBCi High Spf*t. ■ Internet Vdeo Indudes ail Siese and more, over 6Q websites, including popul^ on-line email and instant messaging services Goc ■j) WjKiranA laiiool. Includes more sea-ch engine opdons, over ZOO-websites in all! YouiE k-'M Be a publisher! Blog! Over 2000 website induded in this padiage so you can see it all! Full inte met accea available on requea. Prices subjectto change at any time. fFull Acce»does not include accea to illegal maefiahti image via appleinsider.com mobile web. Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu, credited with coining the term “network neutrality,” pre dicts, “an Internet experience ever more divided by whether you pick up your laptop or your phone.” Why bother with cable and phone service if you can watch tv and make calls for free online? The phone and cable companies feel as if they are getting the cold shoul der and for this reason would like to charge extra on services like Youtube, Hulu, and Skype to reach subscribers on a “fast lane.” But it’s unclear if these fast lanes will even be legal. As the conflict continues to ' swell, the future of net neutrality remains uncertain. But what does remain certain is that FCC’s new laws will be challenged in court while many uninformed Internet users continue to update their Facebook statuses. Neutral in ternet access may be the current standard, but soon users could be charged more to stream video or download software. If citizens want to keep it that way, they should start voicing their opin ions to government officials that will play a large role in shaping the laws that determine the in ternet’s future. For now, here’s to the internet as President Barack Obama describes it should be, “open and free.” The Meredihi Herald is online! Fan us on Facebook: f aceb ook.com/mere cf ilhher al d Follow us on Twitter: twitter.coin/ineredithlierald

Page Text

This is the computer-generated OCR text representation of this newspaper page. It may be empty, if no text could be automatically recognized. This data is also available in Plain Text and XML formats.

Return to page view