What is net neutrality? Why does it matter?
Net neutrality is the principle that Internet providers like Comcast & Verizon should not control what we see and do online. In 2015, startups, Internet freedom groups, and 3.7 million commenters won strong net neutrality rules from the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The rules prohibit Internet providers from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—”fast lanes” for sites that pay, and slow lanes for everyone else.
- 2005 Madison River communications blocked VOIP services. The FCC put a stop to that.
- 2005 Comcast denied access to p2p services without notifying customers.
- 2007 AT&T blocked Skype and other VOIP’s because they didn’t like the competition for their cellphone services.
- 2011 MetroPCS tried to block all streaming except YouTube. They actually sued the FCC over this.
- 2011 AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon blocked access to tethering apps on the android marketplace, with Google’s help.
- 2011 AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon blocked access to Google Wallet because it competed with their own payment apps.
- 2012 Verizon demanded google to block tethering apps on android because it let owners avoid the $20 tethering fee. This was despite guaranteeing they wouldn’t do it as part of a winning bid on a airwaves auction. They were fines 1.25 million over this.
- 2012 AT&T tried to block access to FaceTime unless customers paid more money.
- 2013 Verizon stated that the only thing stopping them from favoring some content providers over other providers were the Net Neutrality rules in place.
- 2016 Comcast instituted a mandatory data cap on all services with an extra $50 fee to get unlimited data. This allowed them to slow the bleeding of cord cutters, trapping them with fees from trying services like Sling or DirecTV Now.
- 2017 Time Warner Cable refused to upgrade their lines in order to get more money out of Riot Games (creators of League of Legends) and Netflix.