Your Primer on the Future of the Internet

article | November 13, 2014

  • New America

On Monday, President Obama announced his support for net neutrality- the idea that the Internet should remain free and open, and Internet Service Providers should treat all online content equally. But even with the support of the President, the future of the open Internet is still uncertain. The FCC will soon rule on the issue, and while FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said he also supports a free and open Internet, actions speak louder than words.

New America’s Open Technology Institute has predicted that without net neutrality, fast lanes and slow lanes online could proliferate, meaning that certain websites could pay Internet Service Providers for faster loading speeds.  That dynamic, in turn, could stifle innovation and create major barriers to entry for startups.

On the other side of the argument, broadband carriers and ISPs like AT&T and Comcast argue that Internet fast lanes would give users a better online experience.

If you're confused, don't worry. Here are seven articles that you should read on net neutrality that will give you a better idea of why it's so important.

Obama on Net Neutrality: Enough Already! by Tim Wu, The New Yorker

The President has long been criticized as a compromiser. But on the issue of net neutrality, he appears to have concluded that with big telecommunications companies and Republicans opposed to any form of net-neutrality rule, that there was nothing to be gained from playing the middle. He’s right. Only a strong net-neutrality rule will actually protect the open Internet.

Internet Coach Class by Danielle Kehl and Sarah Morris, The Weekly Wonk

If you want a glimpse into what the speed of your Internet connection might look like under the newly proposed Open Internet rules, take yourself back to the last uncomfortable hour of a long plane flight.

Which Way, Mr Wheeler? by Sarah Morris and Benjamin Lennett, The Weekly Wonk

After comments and an e-book from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, members of the Open Technology Institute show what the internet would look like if Chairman Wheeler’s statements were enacted..

Why the U.S. Net Neutrality Debate Matters Globally by Danielle Kehl,The Hill

The debate over net neutrality doesn’t just matter in the United States, it matters to the rest of the world. At stake is whether the United States will continue to be a leader in protecting the right of users to freely access the content of their choosing online.

Netflix Takes On Comcast. Here's Why You Should Care by Sarah Morris, Slate

Arcane phrases like “Peering” and “net neutrality” may sound dull, but the future of your entertainment is at stake over them.

“Peering” Into The Risks To The Internet’s Future by Sarah Morris, The Weekly Wonk

Although you might think that “peering” is related to NSA surveillance, it’s actually related to issues like net neutrality, and has implications for the proposed merger of the country’s two largest cable companies: Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

US Should Look to Brazil and the EU for Strong Net Neutrality Rules by Danielle Kehl, The Hill

In Sao Paolo and Brussels, lawmakers took a firm stand on protecting net neutrality, siding with advocates of a free and open Internet even in the face of fierce lobbying from incumbent service providers. The United States, argues Danielle Kehl, should do the same.

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