9/24/09 The FCC Takes a Stand for Net Neutrality
The internet is great. It is the largest collection of trivial time wasting entertainment available to you. Its given us everything from anthropomorphic kittens to videos of the police playing Wii during a drug raid. But to many, particularly students, the internet is an indispensable tool, especially high speed internet. It gives us access to respectable material, even on controversial topics, and massive online databases. Sites like Bittorrent.com give users access a range of material from pirated movies to collections of political cartoons. This massive tranfer of information is what makes the internet as great as it is. It is the least regulated and most diverse form of communication we have, but some people are trying to change that.
Net Neutrality is the idea that a network should be free of restrictions on content, sites, or platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and on the modes of communication allowed.
Recently the FCC released its plan to maintain net neutrality after Com Cast was exposed throttling users bandwidth while they used torrent sites. When an internet service provider (ISP), like Com Cast, throttles bandwidth, they severely restrict the amount of information a user can send or receive. They make your internet painfully slow. Whats worse is that Com Cast never mentioned its actions to users. Eventually it was discovered by an engineer in Oregon while he was trying to upload old recording of a barbershop quartet.
This type of network discrimination could really harm the internet. In theory ISPs could block lawful traffic or pick favorites, offering some websites at higher speeds than other competitors or users. AOL might force you to use yahoo by limiting access to Google, if not restricting it entirely. ISPs could also discriminate against websites who hold opposing political, commercial, or cultural positions.
The FCC has acted against Com Cast and promised protection for users but many ISPs have responded negatively to them. And while the FCC has acted to protect land lines it hasn’t extended its net neutrality guidelines to wireless. So in the next coming months when congressmen speak about restrictions on the internet, remember net neutrality is there for you.
Thanks math 120 students,
dont forget to take the quiz on blackboard
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