Effects of Net Neutrality on Streaming

Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all content equally. That means they shouldn’t be able to slide some data into “fast lanes” while discriminating against other material. In other words, ISPs shouldn’t be able to block you from accessing a service like Netflix, or slow down Hulu or other streaming services, in order to encourage you to keep your cable package or buy a different video-streaming service.

Supporters of net neutrality claim that net neutrality helps to provide freedom of information exchange, promotes innovation for Internet services. For example, had internet providers blocked or severely limited video streaming in the mid-2000s, we might not have Netflix or YouTube today.

Without net neutrality, ISPs have much greater freedom of doing just about anything they want. More importantly, they can create custom monthly plans with limited bandwidth and charge extra for different features. This includes media streaming services as well. For example, your ISP might set up a certain bandwidth limitation for watching Netflix and once you run out, the access to Netflix will be blocked. Or they could make such streaming websites slower so that you’ll be forced to buy another streaming service. But the worst case? Streaming websites like Netflix, get completely blocked and you’d have to pay your ISP to unblock them.

Best option? A VPN.

VPNs mask the online activity of those who use them by encrypting web traffic, thus preventing ISPs (or anyone else) from seeing where a user is connecting to. If ISPs don’t recognize a user’s activity to a site, they can’t “regulate” their traffic to that site. Thus when they connect to the sites ISPs are targeting for throttling or blocking, there won’t be any problem and they will be able to surf, watch, and interact with any site without experiencing a slowdown.

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