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What does Net Neutrality mean for the UK?

You may have seen a lot of news surrounding Net Neutrality and the Federal Communications Commision (FCC) this is because on 14th December the FCC will vote on whether to keep Net Neutrality.

What is Net Neutrality?

It is the idea that the internet service providers (ISPs) treat all data equally. This means that ISPs cannot prioritise which data is sent, which sites get blocked, and decide who pays extra for what.

Why is Net Neutrality so important?

Net Neutrality will have more of an impact than just having to pay more to watch YouTube.

  • Small businesses who rely on open internet to launch, create markets, advertise their products/ services and reach customers would be in trouble
  • Freedom of speech would no longer be guaranteed
  • Activism or dissident voices would be quietened
  • Access to economic and educational opportunities would be reduced
  • Cheap and independent online content will be harder to find or stop existing altogether due to ISP carrier fees

Doesn’t this just affect America?

Yes. And no.

In the UK, our neutrality is ensured by the EU’s Regulation on Open Internet Access which establishes that ISPs in the EU must treat data travelling through their systems equally.

However, as the UK faces Brexit and many of the EU laws are being transferred into British law using the Great Repeal Bill and this could mean that the Government choose to amend or repeal current law post-Brexit. Many think that if the dissolution of Net Neutrality happens in American then it is more likely that the UK Government will follow suit.

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