Saturday, November 25, 2017

Republicans are about to kill the open internet and this town will pay the price

You've probably heard of "net neutrality" but maybe unsure what it is. Put simply it's the idea that every packet of information crossing the Internet has equal priority. Whether you're watching Netflix, listening to Spotify or playing Minecraft all the data is treated equally. Some people who argue for the "free market" claim that Internet service providers (ISPs) should be allowed to prioritise data from certain sources and to specific customers, of course for a fee. Apple, which has huge cash reserves, could for example pay ISPs to prioritise data from Apple Music giving users a better service at no visible cost to them. However, many argue that this would go against the founding principles of the Internet. To see what the future may hold in an unequal Internet look no further than the small rural town of Winlock, Washington – where the Internet is dead slow, if available at all – the residents there are major proponents of net neutrality and argue the Internet is a basic necessity. The Guardian has an interesting article on this.

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