First, what is “Net Neutrality?”
Net neutrality is the concept that all internet traffic should be treated equally. “Treated equally” would indicate that traffic would travel at its rate of speed regardless of non-technical implications. To better understand net neutrality, let me give you an example if what is not net neutrality.
You have as an internet service provider XYZ Communications. You can pretty much pick out what you want to access over that provider. That includes viewing content, perhaps advertising, for XYZ’s competitor, MNOP Communications. And XYZ gets their revenue from the services they provide to users like you. One day some hot-headed big shot at XYZ decides that their infrastructure should not be used for their customers to view MNOP’s advertising. So XYZ decides to slow down all traffic originating at MNOP’s servers; they do this by applying a filter that checks for MNOP’s internet address. That’s one example.
Another example would be if XYZ sent out a communication that they would charge a premium to all the content providers who wanted to serve XYZ’s customers; or if XYZ sent out a communication to all their corporate customers that they would charge a premium on all advertising traffic (web traffic from corporate web servers).
Our understanding is that we pay our internet service providers to provide access to the web, and except for content providers who charge a subscription for their services, access is understood to be universal. Evidently our internet service providers have a different understanding.
As I understand it, the FCC at some point in recent history declined to classify broadband providers as common carriers; it appears that with that decision, the FCC shot itself in the foot with regard to making any attempt to regulate the internet and access thereto. The court’s ruling today is basically, “You said you have no authority over this.”
The ruling itself is remarkably readable. I recommend that you familiarize yourself with the basics of it, which are outlined right after the cast of characters. This is a fight whose time has come, and whether or not you realize it, you have a stake in it. YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT DECISIONS ARE BEING MADE because it will affect not only how much you pay for your internet service, but what you will be able to do on the internet.