Net Neutrality Deregulation: An Explainer

In December 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoked the “net neutrality” regulations. These regulations prevented internet-service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast and AT&T from prioritizing certain online content. .Without these regulations, some fear that ISPs might slow down, or “throttle,” some websites while putting others in the “fast lane.” For example, Netflix might become slower because another service pays the ISP for faster access. This practice is called “paid prioritization.” Critics of the FCC’s move towards deregulation have reason for concern. If ISPs have a special interest in particular companies, that preference could translate into special access to higher speeds. AT&T is trying to buy Time Warner, which owns HBO. If AT&T were to own HBO, they could give HBO faster access than other entertainment streaming websites.

The telecom companies themselves are in favor of deregulation, arguing that it would allow them to invest more into broadband and wireless infrastructure.

Source: The Economist, Dec 23rd, “Net Wars”

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