The Net Neutrality Battle Could Affect Your Access to Netflix
The FCC will soon be voting on net neutrality, and their ruling could dramatically change the Internet as we know it. Find out how this will impact you.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is about to vote on one of the most contentious issues in the history of the internet: net neutrality. In short, net neutrality refers to laws and regulations that all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should treat online content equally and not be allowed to intentionally slow or block any of the content in their networks. Over the years, fears that ISPs won’t play fair have grown significantly.
Net Neutrality, the Cliff Notes Version
AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and other providers of fixed and mobile internet access have morphed into full-service broadband providers with their own content networks that compete directly with Netflix, Amazon and other internet companies that likewise offer programming but don’t have their own means to distribute it. Internet companies and their consumers are concerned that broadband companies might promote their own programs by charging additional fees to access Netflix or Amazon programs, for example. Such tiered pricing would also have the effect of discouraging startups that don’t have the resources to pay for faster internet speeds.
The FCC passed its Open Internet Order in 2015 in an effort to prevent those scenarios from playing out. With a new administration in the White House, however, the FCC has now decided to reverse that order and let broadband companies, content providers, and consumers figure all of this out for themselves.
What Does This Mean For You?
That ongoing uncertainty is a problem because, as the net neutrality drama drags on and ISPs battle it out, access to your favorite content could be in jeopardy. This is why more people are turning to a VPN to cloak their identity online and access restricted content. A VPN stands for virtual private network and most apps are easy to install and activate.
Our dfndr vpn app, for example, hides your IP address from ISPs, allowing you to use the internet at home, work or on public Wi-Fi so you can access games or stream content. And the other benefit? Our free app protects you from hackers too, by blocking any suspicious links that appear in your browser.
The Sky Isn’t Falling
Things aren’t as dire as they might seem. This month’s vote boils down to this: the FCC will essentially hand internet regulation over to Congress, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the legal system. The thinking is that Congress should pass legislation that would define the terms of net neutrality rather than having the rules change every time a new administration takes over the White House. The courts would also likely take up the issue as companies sue one another whenever the new law is violated. The FTC, meanwhile, would monitor internet access to make sure that neither broadband companies nor content providers are engaging in any practices that are anticompetitive. Let’s hope this new approach falls in the consumer’s favor. Meanwhile, consider using a VPN to access content you enjoy watching and interacting with.