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‘Net Neutrality’ and Your Home Connectivity

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made an historic vote last week in favor of “net neutrality” – a broad term used to describe federal assurance that Internet service is provided according to the public good.</br></br>But, what does that mean and how does it impact you?</br></br><strong>Net Neutrality Advocates</strong></br></br>Those in support of net neutrality are convinced that the new rules, which <a title="CBS News" href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/net-neutrality-ruling-what-it-means-for-you/" target="_blank">reclassifies the Internet as a common carrier</a> to be regulated like the mail, your phone and the railroad, will protect service quality, ensure fair rate structures and prevent the creation of so-called “fast lanes” for people who can afford to pay more.</br></br>In theory, this amounts to more money in your pocket you can use to upgrade that media room or home office now that you don’t have to worry about your service provider jacking up your rates.</br></br>But, on the side of the debate …</br></br><strong>Net Neutrality Detractors</strong></br></br>There are some people who believe that more regulation (often described as government overreach) will end up costing taxpayers more money, resulting in an Internet tax that will be added to service bills.</br></br>And, that’s a fair assumption. The government isn’t exactly well-known for going easy on taxation when they can legally get away with it, but in this case there’s a little matter of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) – a law that specifically <a title="Bloomberg BNA" href="http://www.bna.com/internet-tax-freedom-n17179919338/" target="_blank">prohibits government taxation of the Internet</a>.</br></br>Pessimists believe the ITFA may no longer be observed in light of the Internet’s new status as a common carrier, or may be allowed to expire in its next round of voting. Both are possible, because anything is possible, but no plans for either scenario are in evidence.</br></br>So, once again, maybe it’s time to look on the bright side, beef up those media rooms and take advantage of a new Internet fast lane for all.
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