Net Neutrality is a big deal when it comes to internet access and if you do not know why then you have come to the right place. With all the unpredictable political changes that have taken place since the New Year, the issue of Internet access is an important topic in game news today.

What is Net Neutrality?

The main principle of net neutrality is that ISP’s (Internet service providers) cannot discriminate against content and application access. They must allow consumers equal access to all content and applications that are available on the Internet instead of favoring specific websites and/or products. In February of 2015, then Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Tom Wheeler passed the “open Internet” order, which classifies Internet providers as “common carriers.” In other words, the order helped to classify broadband Internet as a utility service similar to the telephone or electricity.

However, since the Presidential election, the current administration has eluded to making changes to net neutrality. According to the New York times, President Trumps F.C.C. pick, Ajit Pai, took specific aim at net neutrality, trying to change the rules and scale back consumer protections/access to Internet content. 

Possible Changes

The current F.C.C. presidential pick, Ajit Pai quickly took advantage of his position by making moves to prevent several Internet service providers from offering discounted high-speed Internet service plans to low-income people. This was only one of the dozens of changes that were proposed that could essentially dismantle net neutrality. As mentioned in the New York Times, only some of the changes have been publicly announced, leaving consumers in the dark about what further changes are going to take place.

There are more legal hurdles that F.C.C chairman Pai will have to face before these changes could be fully implemented. This is because a federal court actually upheld the rules of net neutrality, including broadband Internet’s classification as a utility. It is important to note that these rules were put in place to prevent ISP’s from discriminating against internet traffic, so consumers could have equal access to any content that might be available online.

Changes to Net Neutrality Could Affect the Game Community

Here are several reasons that cannot be overlooked in game news, especially if significant changes to net neutrality are made under the new F.C.C. chairman. Although the federal court was able to uphold the rules aligned with net neutrality, the current political atmosphere is unpredictable.

  • Low-income individuals will find it more difficult to be able to afford Internet service.

    -. Since there are more households today that are part of the working class and survive on a lower-income, many people will be directly affected. Access will only be available to those that can afford high prices for Internet service.

  • Broadband Internet could lose the “utility” classification.

    -. This is very important because access to the Internet is becoming a staple in many households. For instance, kids need access to the internet for school assignments or online course requirements. College students are expected to have online access to essays, e-books, or other writings that are needed to complete their course work. Working class folks are facing job searches where Internet access is a prerequisite because of email notifications and networking communications.

    -. In other game news, folks that actually need broadband internet access to do their jobs will be affected. Computer techs, engineers, professional gamers, coders, and APP builders are only some of the people that could face price hikes just to gain access to high-speed internet.

  • Internet speeds could begin to vary depending on what rates consumers are paying their ISP’s.

    -. People who are paying for a cheaper, more affordable broadband service could find their Internet is lagging compared to folks who could afford to pay for high-speed access and top notch service plans.

    -. If internet speeds are affected, this could cause issues with game consoles that thrive on Wi-Fi connectivity. Such consoles include PS3, PS4, XBOX-360, XBOX-ONE, in which many of the games are available online. The PS4, for example, has a variety of games that could be purchased and downloaded from the online PlayStation store. However, the game(s) cannot be downloaded unless there is a strong enough Internet connection.

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