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A Simple Guide to Net Neutrality

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Net Neutrality needn't be this complicated. "An open Internet" should be self-explanatory. Treating every byte equally is a concept that everyone can understand. And yet, those who oppose Net Neutrality -- namely media corporations, mobile providers, and Republicans -- aim to make the concept so complicated, so convoluted that the only message that rings clear is, "The government wants to control your Internet!"

Net Neutrality has been gaining media attention in recent years but hit a fevered pitch in August when a New York Times article mentioned backroom deals between Google and Verizon. According to sources, both companies were discussing plans to favor certain online content over others -- a clear violation of Net Neutrality. The story circulated like mad and everyone was understandably scared. But such a deal would have to pass through a litany of precautions and safeguards which span the government, third-party developers, and private citizens before it affected everyone. There should always be a worry -- and the backlash is extremely beneficial -- but it's still pretty unlikely.

Now, a recent FCC ruling supports equal ISP traffic but leaves the opportunity for the mobile Internet to become tiered and uneven. While defenders of Net Neutrality dislike the bill because of the loopholes, others -- like incoming House majority leader John Boehner -- vehemently despise any "regulation" whatsoever. Even though such regulation is ensuring that there wouldn't be any regulation. Boehner just doesn't like their kind of regulation.

Following the decision, Boehner said, "Today's action by the FCC will hurt our economy, stifle private-sector job creation, and undermine the entrepreneurship and innovation of Internet-related American employers."

Eh, no it won't, John.

Keeping the Internet open evens the playing field for everyone. No byte -- and in turn, no company -- is restricted. It promotes innovation, competition, and freedom. Anything else gives unfair advantage to the companies who act as unnecessary middle men between the content makers and the content subscribers.

To put it simply, Net Neutrality doesn't play favorites.

But site designer Michael Ciarlo managed to put it even simpler. He created a fantastic visual guide to Net Neutrality that provides a clear, straightforward description on how everyone needs to support an open Internet.

Give it a read.
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