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What You Need To Know About Net Neutrality

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The net neutrality fight is another clash in cable television’s war to stay relevant to American consumers. John Oliver from HBO and the Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler have been going head to head over the issue. Wheeler is a former lobbyist for the cable television industry. Some people believe that the industry will benefit greatly if new rules are created that would allow Internet service providers to treat data differently. Oliver and Wheeler have been ranting and bickering about each other, which has caused to draw the public’s attention to the legal fight. Many of the comments on the issue of the FCC’s “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet” outrage that, without net neutrality, the Internet’s would become worn down. Some websites would be working at full speed while others will work more slowly because the website’s owner didn’t pay for the bandwidth. In January, an U.S. appeals court threw away federal rules that made broadband providers to treat all Internet traffic the same. The Obama administration has long supported net neutrality. Before the court ruling, the FCC had rules from 2010 that required many companies to treat similar content on their networks in an equal way. In April, the FCC proposed new Internet traffic rules that would allow broadband providers to charge companies like Netflix and Google at a higher rate to deliver content the fastest. The plan also allows Internet service providers to charge data-heavy companies higher fees to deliver the Internet faster. If the FCC’s proposed rules go through as planned, consumers will have to pay much more. The average cable bill in 2015 would be $123 a month and by 2020, the bill would be around $200 a month for basic and premium channels. Although this issue is a strong one, it is a fight against a dying cable television industry. Many young people will choose to not pay for cable and drop the programming portion of the cable contracts entirely. The cable industry has already lost to content providers such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The two companies are pending for their $45 million all-stock merge, which will be a benefit for shareholders. But combining two content providers doesn’t hide the fact that people are watching cable sparsely. Audience ratings collapsed in 2013 and it became one of the worst years for the television industry. From 2010 to 2013, five million consumers cut their broadband and cable subscriptions, and it has become difficult to find new customers. The FCC giving cable companies more power over how Americans uses the Internet is rough for business and awful public policy. The only solution is to have net neutrality.