The End of Net Neutrality: What It Means for You
1:53PM January 25, 2018
Late last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) removed some of the consumer protections, popularly known as “net neutrality.” We know there may be some concern about what the end of net neutrality means for you and your Internet service. Briefly, we’ll describe what net neutrality means and our response to the FCC’s action.
What is Net Neutrality?
The phrase “net neutrality” is most commonly used in reference to restrictions put in place by the FCC in 2015. These restrictions kept Internet Service Providers (ISPs)—the companies that provide Internet service to consumers and businesses, like we will in the near future—from privileging certain types of content. It was required that every website be treated neutrally (hence “net neutrality”)—every website should load as quickly or cost the same to deliver as any other website. For example, without net neutrality, an ISP could charge Company A premium prices to load their content as fast as Company B (this is called throttling). The increase in price Company A pays would, likely, be passed on to Company A’s customers. Or, for another example, an ISP could choose to load their competitors’ websites far more slowly than their own or block them altogether, so customers who currently have service with that ISP find it difficult to switch providers (this is called blocking). Although there are pluses and minuses to the net neutrality restrictions, their intent was to protect consumers. The end of net neutrality means that ISPs can choose whether to throttle or block other websites if they desire.
We want you to know that we will follow the original net neutrality restrictions from 2015, even if the FCC no longer requires us to do so. We believe equal access to every part of the Internet—without throttling or blocking—is not only desirable for you, our members, but also in the best interest of the communities we serve. Your trust is far more important than any revenue to be made by the end of net neutrality.
We look forward to offering our first members Fiber Internet service this summer. From there, we’ll continue to expand the Consolidated Fiber network, with priority on the communities where our members live. The full project will take multiple years, and our commitment to completing the project for our members—for you—will continue strong.