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Net neutrality: Five myths, and the real facts

Kristin April Kim | Dec. 2, 2014
Regardless of where you stand on the net neutrality debate, one thing doesn't help: misleading or confusing statements. Unfortunately there are plenty of them.

There's no myth here. We simply don't know what ISPs will end up doing if they face regulation.

Myth #4: Without net neutrality, some Internet users will experience slower service

This isn't a myth either, but two different positions around the same fact. This is the fact: If ISPs offer faster service for some Web companies, the service for other companies will be slower by comparison.

The argument centers around a perception: Is slower bad, or just not as good as faster? Net neutrality advocates warn that if ISPs give some websites a fast lane for an extra fee, that's essentially downgrading service for all other websites. Opponents contend that service to all wouldn't be downgraded, but those who paid extra would get better (faster) service.

Myth #5: President Obama has the final word on net neutrality

While the President's opinion might hold more weight than yours or mine, it's not binding. Since President Obama issued his statement supporting reclassification, the White House has reiterated that the ultimate decision will be in the hands of the independent FCC.

That means FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is under a lot of pressure. His only official statement reflects that the commission is trying its best to end the years-long quest for net neutrality rules: "We must take the time to get the job done correctly, once and for all, in order to successfully protect consumers and innovators online." A decision is expected in the near future.

 

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