Our generation is faced with two major policy issues with respect to the Internet. The first is making sure that the United States invests in the infrastructure necessary to guarantee high-speed Internet access throughout the country. The second is Net Neutrality, which is “the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.”
High Speed Internet
In recent years, other nations have outpaced our nation in infrastructure improvements to high-speed broadband Internet. In a recent analysis by Akamai Technologies, a cloud services provider, the United States ranked #17 in the world for Internet download speeds, placing us behind Finland, Czech Republic, and even Latvia.
If the Unites States wants to remain a competitive leader in IT and web technologies, we need the federal government and broadband providers to work together to expand the promise of high-speed broadband Internet to urban and rural areas alike.
In February, 2015, the FCC adopted strong rules designed to protect net neutrality, thereby ensuring that Internet service providers couldn’t discriminate between types of Internet traffic by throttling download speeds for certain types of content, while giving faster service to other types. To understand what Net Neutrality is, and why it’s important, check out the ACLU’s Net Neutrality Key Questions page.
For a more in-depth breakdown of the topic, watch John Oliver’s breakdown of the subject in this clip from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:
The show added an update following the FCC’s announcement of their new rules in February, 2015:
Unfortunately, courts have previously struck down two attempts by the FCC to protect net neutrality prior to the rules announced in February, and another court case is scheduled to be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on December 4th, 2015 over the legality of the February 2015 FCC rules.