What’s going on with net neutrality?

Kaitlyn Bowers, Video Director

Net neutrality was repealed over two years ago, and it is still a topic of contention in the US, especially following the October Court of Appeals decision regarding the issue. What is the history of net neutrality and what exactly is going on today?

Net neutrality is the principle that all websites on the internet should be treated equally, whether you’re scrolling through Reddit or watching your favorite movie on Disney+. This also means that companies like Comcast can’t choose to raise the prices of their competitor’s content. This is getting increasingly more important as companies such as AT&T create their own streaming services. 

The fight for net neutrality began in 2005, when the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, adopted new principles that sought to keep the content of the internet equal to each other. 

Both the Bush administration and the Obama administration worked hard at enforcing these principles. In 2015, Obama passed the strictest law regarding net neutrality, called the Open Internet Act of 2015, which prohibited internet service providers from charging unfair fees, censoring content, and throttling traffic.  

However, things changed in December of 2017, when the FCC voted to take a measure that would undo everything the Open Internet Act achieved. As long as the public was notified of it happening, internet service providers could do whatever they wanted.

In October 2019, federal appeals court upheld the government’s repeal of the net neutrality laws, although also stating that the FCC has overstepped their boundaries when it comes to keeping state and local governments from making their own rules on the matter. 

So where does that leave us now? 

Currently, there is a proposed bill called the Save the Internet Act. If this bill passes, it will ensure that net neutrality will be protected and the internet will remain open.

There are several websites dedicated to getting people involved in the fight for net neutrality. Through these websites, you can find out what net neutrality is, what representatives from which states support it, and how to write to Congress to express your feelings on the subject.

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