Net Neutrality – what is it?


Maybe you’ve run across the phrase “Net Neutrality” in your online news consumption, or heard it on the news. The term was coined in 2003 by law professor Tim Wu, and refers to the idea that the “Internet should be an impartial conduit for the information that travels through it,” according to journalist Nancy Scola of the Washington Post. Or as this ABC News story put it, it’s the idea that “Internet service providers shouldn’t block, manipulate or slow data moving across their networks.”

It became an even hotter topic back in January 2014 when a Federal Appeals court struck down most of the FCC’s (Federal Communication Commission) net neutrality rules.It sends the FCC back to the drawing board and we can’t expect any new rulings until 2015.

Political sides have been taken, and groups like the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and Save the Internet, are fighting against any policy that would allow big companies to charge extra for broadband. Conservative think tanks like the Hoover Institution and the American Enterprise Institute argue against any new regulation of the Internet. Scola’s article (linked above) lays out the “Five Myths of Net Neutrality.”

Our Opposing Viewpoints subscription database is a great starting point to read articles on both sides of the issue.

How will it affect you personally? It’s too soon to tell, though your speedy Internet connection while on any of the Miami campuses shouldn’t be affected.

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