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The benefits and risks of mandating network neutrality

“Rather than leveling the playing field to spur competition and innovation, Chairman Pai’s proposal would allow a select few corporations to choose winners and losers.” This is a debate clogged with jargon, technical details, and arguments between huge corporations, but the outcome could affect every consumer who accesses the internet—in other words, virtually every consumer in the United States.Here, quickly, is what you need to know to follow the debate.

“Consumer activism was key to getting these rules passed and will be just as important, if not more, in protecting them now," Schwantes says.In a world without net neutrality, an internet service provider such as Comcast or Verizon might refuse to let its customers access certain websites, or might slow down content coming from those websites.In essence, there might be fast lanes and slow lanes for web content. To promote content that the ISP was selling itself, or to make money by charging content providers for the right to reach consumers.“The current FCC net neutrality rules are working and these consumer protections should not be changed,” the organization said in an announcement on Wednesday.“Consumers pay for access to the entire internet free from blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization.Presently, the network neutrality paradigm governs the manner in which most data is transported over the Internet.

However, experts often question whether keeping such a policy remains reasonable.

A simulation-based analysis of different policy and competition scenarios suggests that content providers perform best when network neutrality is imposed, while network providers and consumers may benefit from traffic discrimination, under certain circumstances.

The head of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, set the stage Wednesday for a series of battles that could affect whether consumers have unfettered access to internet content in the future, and what they pay for online services such as Netflix.

The FCC got around that problem in 2015, after nearly a year of fielding public comments, by reclassifying broadband providers as "common carriers" under Title II of the Communications Act.

Basically, that put ISPs in the same category as phone companies, and gave the FCC much stronger authority to regulate them. What Pai is proposing now is to reverse the Title II reclassification, dumping ISPs back into the ocean of other companies subject to oversight by the FTC, and canceling the net neutrality rules at the same time.

Until that time, a different government agency, the Federal Trade Commission, oversaw the ISPs, and that's still the body with authority to investigate potential abuses by web-based businesses such as Amazon and Google, along with other U. The fight over net neutrality is going to be a lengthy one, with plenty of smaller scuffles along the way. "First," Pai said, "we are proposing to return the classification of broadband service from a Title II telecommunications service to a Title I information service—that is, light-touch regulation drawn from the Clinton Administration.