What is net neutrality?

What is net neutrality? (KOKH/Jordann Lucero)

The FCC is scheduled to vote on a "net neutrality" repeal Thursday. The rule is meant to ensure all web traffic is treated the same.

Dr. Sridhar Radhakrishnan, OU's computer science director, says there are three basic principles to net neutrality:

  1. Providers should not be able to block internet traffic based on where that traffic is coming from
  2. Providers cannot prioritize traffic
  3. Providers cannot toggle traffic based on who the traffic is going to or where the traffic is coming from

Radhakrishnan said there could be pros to repealing those rules, though many people are focusing on the cons.

"People are saying this is going to be bad for the consumer because people can control who can watch what," he said.

The concern is without neutrality, an internet service provider could allow good speeds when a customer is on a site it wants to promote and then slow down or block other sites.

"What if you're streaming from Fox 25," he said as an example, "it's not getting steamed heavily. But let's say there's another local channel that gets streamed heavily, because they are having a relationship with an internet service provider. Which is not right. People should, in a democracy, you should be able to look at all the content."

Radhakrishnan said the argument the FCC is looking at, is whether these rules stifle competition. He said a repeal could create more internet service providers, which would be good.

The decision, he said, would likely impact rural areas more, since people who live in cities generally have more options to begin with.

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