On the morning of Dec. 14 at 10:30 a.m. ET the Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote on net neutrality. The outcome of this vote could drastically change the way you use the internet and how companies profit from your internet usage. You may have seen rallying calls from supporters or critics in your social media feeds, leaving you wondering what the pros and cons are to net neutrality.
Under current regulations set in 2015 during the Obama era, broadband providers like Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, and Time Warner were classified as Title II "common carriers." This means your internet service provider sets up the infrastructure, but has to treat all internet content and data equally. Internet providers are not allowed to block websites they don't like nor, for example, charge you for using YouTube more than for using Twitter (video streaming uses more data than tweeting). Internet providers also cannot give preferential treatment — like faster speed — to one website over another. In 2014 the White House sent out a public video message from then President Obama urging the FCC to protect net neutrality. "There are no gatekeepers deciding which sites you get to access," Obama said in the video. "There are no toll roads on the information superhighway."
But the commissioner of the FCC, Trump-appointee Ajit Pai, wants to reclassify broadband providers as Title I "information services carriers." Pai argues that the distribution of data is uneven, so low-data websites and apps are unfairly treated the same as bandwidth hogs. Pai thinks that deregulating the network would allow one, more free market competition to encourage innovation, and two, internet companies to charge higher fees to the high-data websites they service. Conservative site The Daily Caller posted a video of Pai showing net neutrality protesters all the things they can still do after net neutrality is dismantled.
If you want to make your own informed decision, here are some pros and cons to net neutrality.