Watch the video above in order to get a crash course on what this net neutrality thing is all about.
YouTube user Vihart explains all the noisy debate surrounding the topic by fitting it into the analogy of a mail carrier delivering packages to people, just as internet data flows from a source (like Netflix) to its customers.
In her example, the delivery service notices a majority of the packages it delivers come from this huge bookseller and decides to do something about it, just as Comcast has noticed that an awful lot of the data it “delivers” comes from Netflix.
Here’s where the trouble begins — instead of using the money Comcast collects from its customers in order to expand and accommodate demand for Netflix’s streaming media, the ISP collected a bounty from Netflix in order to “protect” Netflix’s data from being restricted. It’s reminiscent of mob tactics — “It’d be a shame if something were to go wrong with your data,” for example.
Netflix began paying Comcast for direct access to customers because its previous model of delivering content through a third-party company called Cogent resulted in slower speeds. Now that Netflix pays Comcast, content speeds are much faster.
The debate on this issue will hinge almost entirely on one point — is it OK for an internet provider to deliver data to paying customers any slower than “as quickly as they request it”? This sets the stage for internet connectivity being considered a utility in the U.S., comparable to water, electricity, and the like. If you think it is, then you should know that Comcast is already meddling with its customers utilities.
The government will make its ruling on how to proceed on May 15.
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