Net neutrality is one of those subjects people have likely heard about, but don’t really know how it affects them. Now that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has repealed its net neutrality regulations, many pundits are speculating that this new regulatory environment will either shut down the internet—or spur its growth.
While opinions on the subject vary across the political spectrum, it is difficult to accurately predict how the repeal of net neutrality will actually affect the internet, consumers, and communication professionals. However, what is known is that the repeal has the potential to change the way the internet works and the trajectory of its development. As a result, anyone writing or managing content online, especially public relations professionals, needs to know what the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality means for them.
What is net neutrality and why was it repealed?
Net neutrality is the practice in which all content on the internet is delivered at the same speed, and it forbids internet service providers (ISPs) from charging for faster delivery of content. Officially adopted by the FCC in 2015, net neutrality regulation specifically prevented ISPs from blocking content, slowing down delivery of certain content, and allowing people or organizations to pay for faster delivery of their content. This approach to internet regulation categorized broadband service under Title II of the Communications Act, which subjected ISPs to certain federal regulations, including investigations and compliance requirements.
Prior to 2015, the U.S. federal government’s approach to internet regulation could be characterized as loose. However, as the internet became more essential in commerce and daily communication, the FCC in 2015 adopted the policy of net neutrality in an attempt to preserve the internet as it had always been—an open forum with equal access to content for all....
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