An idea that providers of Internet service should charge the same amount for web access without regard of user, content, or equipment. In short, it ensures that the Internet doesn’t discriminate depending on how you use it. There has been a fervent debate about whether net neutrality should be required by law, or if Internet service providers should have the ability to interfere with users’ connections depending on their data.
The term was coined by Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School. He explains that all public information available over the Internet is “more useful if contents, sites, and platforms are treated equally.” After cable company Comcast was found to have illegally slowed high-speed Internet connections for users trying to share files, the FCC said that all communications companies couldn’t stop users from using their connections as they please. Since then, net neutrality has been seen as an issue of free speech.
Communications companies have the ability to control Internet speeds and accessibility (which is illegal) by accessing your data (which is within their rights). Many data-heavy web companies (like Netflix and Foursquare) are public proponents of net neutrality so that they can provide users the best possible experience across the board.
Tomorrow, both branches of the U.S. Congress will discuss rules for the open Internet, and the FCC will vote on it in February.