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FCC proposes net neutrality rules: what it means for you

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What is neutrality and why should you care? The Federal Communications Commission voted to move ahead with some new rules that would govern Internet Service providers and their networks.

"Net neutrality is basically the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally, so that means that an Internet provider or a government can't go and monkey with traffic and slow it down or block it," says Maggie Reardon, a senior writer for CNET. She assures us net neutrality is not as complicated as you might think. But if you use the Internet at all it is important for you to think about.

"The theory there is that if you have HOV lanes for certain types of Internet traffic, then what does that mean for the rest of the traffic?" she says. "Does it get backed up on the highway like we notice in real-life traffic?"

Reardon explains that the FCC on Thursday set forth a proposal for a new set of rules that would essentially keep the Internet free and open, preventing those who provide you internet service from jamming up traffic or giving faster speeds to just certain people or businesses. That in essence prevents the internet from one day becoming like cable companies. There is a very simple premise behind it all.

"On the Internet you can get to any website that you want to get to that's legal," Reardon says.

So, back to that traffic analogy, there would be no red lights or green lights, and, definitely no "passenger car only" lanes. Instead everyone travels the same roads, the same way, at the same speed.

So, what's next for the FCC and net neutrality? The public can submit comments on the FCC website for four months. After that, the five FCC commissioners will decide on rules for the Internet. Then, another vote on those rules will take place. So we have a long process ahead of us.

Bottom line: the government wants to keep the internet free and open for all.

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