CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has made a major decision on the internet's biggest rule, known as net neutrality.
Created in 2015 net neutrality had a basic principal that all data had to be treated equally.
Thursday afternoon the FCC panel of five voted to get rid of net neutrality by a vote of 3-2 with the three republican appointees voting to repeal and the two democrats voting to keep the rule.
Let's break it down even further using a highway system as an example. Which makes sense because it is the "information super highway."
Picture a massive set of freeway lanes set side-by-side.
One set of lanes is owned by Verizon.
The next set over is owned by Comcast.
The way net neutrality is currently set up all traffic has to move along at the same speed. No data gets to move faster or slower just because Verizon says so.
Taking away net neutrality and things could change.
There could be fast lanes, slow lanes, even lanes that get blocked off.
All of the sudden here comes Netflix onto the on-ramp. It's driving a massive semi-truck with 18 trailers worth of data. Verizon and Comcast could see dollar signs pulling up to their toll booths.
Take away net neutrality and internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon, could decide that Netflix is going to have to pay extra to run on their highway.
If Netflix doesn't want the spinning-wheel-of-death popping up in the middle of your favorite chase scene, they will pay the extra toll.
Netflix will then have to tell its stockholders they're loosing money, or make it up somehow. Higher subscription fees?
Those who are in favor of getting rid of net neutrality argue by allowing internet service providers to charge apps and websites, that money can be used for future investment and innovations to the web.
The internet service providers have said they won't take advantage of the deregulation but none have put that in writing.
The argument in favor of getting rid of net neutrality comes down to who should regulate the internet. Today's vote has moved control away from the FCC and toward the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC has much more control and power when it comes to practices that hurt the average consumer. Some argue if internet service providers take gross advantage of the new situation the FTC will have the authority to step in.