Thursday, February 26, 2015

Net Neutrality Vote today - UPDATED

Today the Federal Communications Commission is set to vote on whether or not to save Net Neutrality on the Internet.  Net Neutrality means that service providers have to allow every website no matter how big or how small equal access to the public. What this means is that someone surfing the net can access any website at supposedly equal speeds.  For example, in this framework a small independent business' website can sell its goods with equal access as a large commerce web sites.

Today's vote will be on whether the Internet will be regulated as a public utility and keep the net neutral, thus allowing every website to be equal rather than the possibility of service providers controlling which websites get faster access to consumers.  While some forces claim this is a government tax that will interfere with the Net, Net Neutrality proponents claim this merely protects the status quo.

What is interesting here is the forces in support of Net Neutrality.  It has fairly wide public support yet is also being supported by large websites, and Internet start-ups.  More importantly it's being supported by those who fund Internet start-ups: venture capitalists who may invest in something reportedly started in a garage but are definitely hoping for a return on their investment.  Because of this crossroads there may be a chance that Net Neutrality is preserved via regulation as a public utility.

I'll likely update this later today once the vote is known.  However, here's some information on what the vote means.  Keeping my fingers crossed on this one, even if it appears likely that NN will be preserved. 

UPDATE: The FCC Panel voted 3-2 in favor of the proposed plan to make broadband a public utility and keep strong Net Neutrality protection.  While some opponents are talking about lawsuits or Congressional undoing, this is still an example of rare good news out of Washington.