Whether you know exactly what it is or not, you are sure to have heard of Net Neutrality and the drama surrounding the repeal of it.
Net Neutrality is the principle that ensures internet service providers (ISP’s) do not have influence over how users may lawfully use their network. This includes slowing down certain websites or programs, charging for additional access, or otherwise impeding access for users. Having been repealed in 2017, one of the major concerns many website owners have is, how does this affect my website speed?
Are You Being Throttled?
The number of websites continues to increase, and with build your own platforms such as Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, etc. it is very easy to create a site for yourself or business. From 2015 to 2018 Net Neutrality ensured that these websites would not be discriminated against in terms of access. Now with the repeal, many small scale website owners are afraid that their websites will be discriminated against, in favor of large corporations.
Since the repeal, there have not been any major studies or reports that show ISP’s are throttling websites or requiring customers to pay for certain access to sites. The only throttling that has been reported or researched is that of streaming sites. Sites such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, etc have shown some throttling from various ISP’s.
There are certain ways to test if your internet is being throttled. The quickest and easiest way is to install a VPN or Virtual Private Network. Run an internet speed test while the VPN is off and write down the upload and download speeds. After the test, turn the VPN on and run again. If your internet with the VPN on is greater than with it off, your ISP is throttling your service, and it might be time to think about switching if possible. Also, a quick Google search can find you many internet speed tests.
States Try To Repeal the Repeal
When the repeal was initially set to take place, a total of 22 states filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to reinstate net neutrality. While a valiant effort, this did not stop the repeal. In fact, the FCC stated it would order states to scrap any plans they had for their own net neutrality laws. This was another loss but the fight against the repeal is still on, even after the implementation.
In the end, it doesn't seem that ISP's are blocking access to or throttling websites other than streaming services. If you have a streaming service that you operate, this can definitely be an issue. However, you would need to be doing Netflix and YouTube-like numbers. If you have a normal website where you are selling items or services, or simply use it as a portfolio, there is little to fear as of right now. As always, keep vigilant when it comes to accessing your website, and stay up to date with any news regarding net neutrality. It always helps to be informed.
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