President Obama is shaking things up in the Internet world before he leaves office. Not one to leave quietly or stop working towards his goals during his term, Obama has managed to change the way that Internet providers run the internet in the United States.
In accordance with a U.S. appeals court, Obama has made it illegal for Internet service providers to provide ‘high speed’ customers with faster service while slowing down the Internet for people that are not in the ‘fast lane’.
The ‘Net Neutrality’ laws that were put into motion last year demand a fair Internet experience for all users. Prior to the latest ruling, Internet providers were allowing some clients to access the Internet at a faster speed while other clients had to wait or deal with slower speeds. The speeds changed depending on the cost of the package that each client purchased.
According to President Obama (and now the U.S. law), net neutrality literally means fair and equal Internet for all - including those people that did not pay for the most expensive Internet. Now, Internet speeds are equal for everyone regardless of how much money is spent on a particular Internet package.
The new law prohibits Internet providers from selling faster Internet to anyone. Everyone should now have Internet at the same speed. So if you are buying your Internet package from any Internet provider, the speeds should remain the same. The U.S. appeals court mentioned above sided with the FCC in this ruling, and both have determined that the Internet (and those that provide access to it) are now open for further investigations.
The Obama camp believes that the Internet should be fair and just and equal speed for everyone, and that everyone should have access to the same sites at the same speed. Prior to this ruling, some Internet providers would purposely slow down access to popular sites for those clients that did not spend a higher amount of money on ‘fast speed’ Internet.
Good and Bad
There are certainly benefits to this ruling. However, some see a drawback to this ruling as well. Now that the FCC has opened up the Internet to further investigation, what was once a semi-private utility is now public. This may mean that the FCC can tap into various and any aspect of the Internet regularly. In short, nothing that happens on the Internet may remain safe from prying government eyes.
The other drawback here is that Internet companies may not make as much money as they were making before, which might seem like a good thing to many people, and this could hurt the Internet provider industry (a large chunk of private industry in the U.S.). So while the new ‘net neutrality’ laws and this new ruling are positive in many ways, this decision (just like any other) has definite drawbacks and benefits.
The FCC had this to say about the ruling, “ruling is a victory for consumers and innovators who deserve unfettered access to the entire web, and it ensures the internet remains a platform for unparalleled innovation, free expression and economic growth.”