We connect to the internet through a internet service provider (ISP) who allows us to obtain the data we want without giving preferential treatment to any one website. Therefore, massive companies like ESPN or Netflix, are treated with equal data speeds as any small business. However, there have been recent developments in the legal field with a lawsuit between the FCC and Verizon in regards to ISPs giving preferential treatment over neutrality.
The suit initiated when Verizon began to sell tiered internet packages to their customers. The FCC wanted to block these packages on a the theory of net neutrality, but the court denied the block. The court found that the FCC was attempting to impose common carrier utility regulations on a broadband service provider that was not officially classified as a common utility carrier. The hope is that the FCC can push net neutrality on a regulatory side.
Without neutrality, an ISP can slow down access to a company’s website and charge a premium for access to faster speeds. Large companies like ESPN or Netflix can afford to pay these premiums, but a small business may have trouble with these added costs. This gives large corporations a massive advantage over the little guy.
Net neutrality is something that is a great resource for innovation on the web, because then every company has equal access to customers and it levels the playing field.