There is a lot going on in the media right now about net neutrality, and for good reason. On February 26th, regulators at the FCC will cast their vote for measures that would put rules and regulations on service providers (as in, internet service providers) dis-allowing them to elevate the availability or speed of certain websites based on any criteria.

A lot of people don’t understand why this is important, or how it would affect them. This is the most simple answer:

If internet service providers are allowed to regulate the service they provide based on the website or service that you are requesting, they are essentially regulating your freedom to access the internet the way you choose to. For example, let’s say that you use Netflix currently to stream all your favorite TV shows. Everything works great now. Let’s say though, that your internet provider receives a big “gift” from the RedBox and Verizon streaming media venture. Now they decide that the Verizon streaming service is by far better quality than Netflix, so Verizon streaming media gets priority.

Netflix, which normally streams fine in HD, is now bottle-necked. Load times are twice as long, and there is no more HD. To keep up with customer demands, Netflix is forced to pay bandwidth fees to your internet provider to increase their bandwidth usage on it’s network. To cover these additional cost, you have to pay more money each month.

Now let’s say that you are a new small business, looking to get into the streaming media niche. You’re service is bottle-necked out of the gate, and because you cannot pay the internet providers high bandwidth fees, you are out of the running to be a serious service offering before you even got started.

This is a big problem for both the companies that run web based services and the customers that want to consume these services. It’s also a big step in the wrong direction for a free and open internet.

If you would like to know more about this issue, and let decision makers in your state know how you feel about net neutrality, please goto:

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