Okay, so Net Neutrality can be very confusing. It’s a complicated issue that even experts have difficulty talking about in succinct clarity. Here’s your cheat sheet for terms you need to know about Net Neutrality.
1. FCC – The Federal Communication Commission. They regulate all the stuff you talk on or watch things through. They will decide Net Neutrality.
2. ISPs – Internet Service Providers. They’re the ones that bring you the Internet you know and love. They’re also the ones lobbying the hardest for no Net Neutrality so they can create Internet fast lanes.
3. Internet Fast Lanes – ISPs want to charge extra for faster speeds of the Internet. So, if Google wants to move at the same speed as Bing, they’ll have to pay extra, and vice-versa. It also might mean that Comcast and others could make deals with search engines like Bing and then throttle the speed of Google in order to drive their customers to Bing.
4. Internet Slow Lanes – Basically, exactly what you think. Since some traffic is moving faster because they’ve paid the extra price, others would be stuck in the slow lanes, behind that guy going 45 on the highway with his blinker on.
5. Open Internet – The basic idea behind Net Neutrality. Advocates say the Internet needs to remain open and free for anyone to use. It is the basis for the current culture of development and creation on the Internet. Basically, every tech company you can imagine supports the open internet. Seriously, it’s a lot.
6. Title II – Essentially, if the FCC wants to stop Internet fast lanes, they will need to reclassify the Internet itself. Changing ISPs to common carriers under Title II would allow for the FCC to regulate an open Internet. Without reclassification, the FCC does not have the authority to continue Net Neutrality in its current form.
7. Reclassification – So, in order for the Internet to be under Title II, the FCC has to reclassify what the Internet even is. This is reclassification, and it means ISPs have to follow the common carriers rules. Which are what other telecommunication folks, like phone service, have to adhere to.
8. Obamacare – Ted Cruz called Net Neutrality the Obamacare of the Internet. Although there is an argument to be made that Net Neutrality could lead to governmental regulations, basically everyone thought this was hyperbolic and false language.
9. Al Franken – Senator from Minnesota that really, really loves Net Neutrality. He’s called it the biggest free speech issue currently facing the country. He’s been fighting for Net Neutrality for years. He also was a writer for SNL and a comedian before he became a politician. This probably hurts his image for a lot of people.
10. Tom Wheeler – Current Chairman of the FCC. His opinion on the matter is shrouded in mystery, but he was a lobbyist for the cable industry. Some have theorized he is really a dingo.
Bonus: Dingo – A free ranging dog from Australia.
Double Bonus: Stuart Smalley – He’s good enough, he’s smart enough, and doggone it, people like him.