The FCC, short for Federal Communications Commission: a communications regulation agency of the United States Federal Government, has endorsed the decision to reclassify broadband as a utility. This means that the government will have more command over how data gets passed over the internet – an odious phenomenon known as net neutrality.
The official definition of net neutrality is: that principle stating that internet service providers must enable access to all data on the internet with no discrimination or interference whatsoever – forcing users, content, websites, applications, and modes of communication to all be treated equally.
“It’s not fair if some people can afford fast lanes while others are confined to operating in the slower lanes,” propound the parochial net neutrality advocates. Sadly, this argument has convinced far too many in the political sphere to go ahead and regulate data access across the board.
As it stands today, ISPs have been working to implement a system wherein those websites that get a lot of traffic, like Netflix or YouTube, would be given more bandwidth – essentially allowing users access to their site using “faster lanes.” What do fast and slow lanes look like in practice? In essence, whenever the ISPs network gets a data packet, it’ll inspect it for an ID. If this ID corresponds to a content provider that is paying for a fast lane, the ISP will send the data through its optimal node path. All other traffic will be diverted through sub-optimal, lower priority lanes, making the delivery speed slower.
So if everyone has to share the same data path, everything will be slower. But if you divert the more data-intensive traffic away, the slower lanes will be faster. This last point is what the government officials fail to see. Smaller websites – that is, websites run by web design companies, or mom and pop stores – do not need the same amount of bandwidth as Netflix or YouTube. You will usually be able to access their sites with the same celerity as you would one of the super popular internet sites. By taking the ratio of actual bandwidth and maximum demand, one can calculate how much bandwidth a site really needs. And if government officials and net neutrality advocates only took a small portion of their time to do said calculations, the efficiency of our internet would not be at stake.
Net neutrality equals a slower internet experience – unless we as users want to pay a significant amount more than we do now. Either way you slice it, these regulations are egregious – and should be done away with.