Why debate over net neutrality affects everyone

- You may have noticed it browsing online. Nearly 80,000 websites – including big names Airbnb, Facebook, Google, and Amazon – are all protesting. The digital demonstration coincides with crowds gathering at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Why? Answer: a shared outrage over new plans to roll back net neutrality rules.

Laptop Mag editor Paul Wagenseil explained net neutrality: "The idea is that every packet on the internet, every piece of data is treated equally by the internet service providers, like Time Warner/Spectrum of Comcast or whoever you have handling your home or business data connection."

That means the net neutrality debate impacts just about everyone who uses the internet.

People are so upset with the new FCC chairman's rollback proposal that they picketed his home. Chairman Ajit Pai tried to brush it off during a recent interview on FOX Business. He said he understands that many people are passionate about the issue but said his focus is to have as civil a discussion as possible.

In 2015, during the Obama administration, the rules changed. The FCC was allowed to treat internet service providers (such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T) as utilities. That meant more oversight and regulation. The goal was to make sure those service providers couldn't favor some websites or block or slow down others.

Now, the Trump administration wants to roll back the rules, arguing too many restrictions are stifling investment and innovation.

Laptop Mag's Wagenseil said both sides make good points, which is why this issue is a problem.

Republicans, including President Trump, have generally supported the internet providers. And the GOP holds all three branches of government.

The public will have until mid-August to send comments to the FCC before the final vote.

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