A new bill may soon be introduced that would protect net neutrality as a law, in the USA.
The “21st Century Internet Act” would prohibit internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking websites, throttling users broadband speeds or accepting paid prioritisation from companies for advertising.
At the moment, net neutrality is only considered a rule, that is overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This means the rule is currently vulnerable to be altered or changed every few years.
The rule was introduced in 2015, and the new law would incorporate all of the original aspects of this, while introducing more in-depth and clearer guidelines.
For example, ISPs would not be allowed to interfere or disadvantage their users’ connection, when they are accessing lawful online content and services.
ISPs will unsurprisingly oppose the law because most of them have vowed to follow the rules voluntarily. They also insist that sometimes they need to break the rules in order to provide better services for their customers, but many skeptics believe that this is not true.
Since 2002, there has been an ongoing debate as to whether the internet is a telecommunications or information service. If net neutrality becomes a law, it would settle this debate once and for all.
The FCC initially considered the internet an information service and decided not to regulate it. However, once certain ISPs began blocking legal websites, the FCC stepped in and introduced the initial net neutrality rules.
The news of the this bill comes shortly after it was announced that the Indian government were going to enforce strong net neutrality recommendations.
Major companies such as OKCupid, Amazon and Google have long been advocates of net neutrality.
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