Previously to Net Neutrality these regulations were debated and discussed. The internet brought up some interesting concerns that were somewhat addressed in the telecommunications act of 1996, but not very well.
So what’s the whole deal with this thing?
There was a debate all the way up to the 2015 ruling on whether the internet should be regulated the same way we regulate telephones or the way we regulate broadcast television.
The 2015 ruling decided that the internet was more similar to telephones which have this important trait of being common carriers. This is a fancy sounding word to explain that telephone providers (like AT&T for example) could not regulate the content of the service. AT&T for example could not prioritize conversations in telephones at their own discretion. They needed to treat all the phone calls across the country as equal. So when you pick up any phone today you can call anywhere in the country. That’s the reason why phones were amazing and expanded so quickly across the United States!
Some people debated whether this “common carrier” status should be applied to the internet. Others (like the current FCC chairman) have said Internet Service Providers should be similar to the way network broadcasting works with ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX having all control over the content that they air. These networks own the shows that they air in a sense and are the gatekeepers of anything you can see on your television. However, many of these TV Networks are also branched into Internet Service Providers. These ISPs think the internet should be their’s to regulate the content of since they’re the ones who set up the networks. This gives corporations control over the information you see on television! It’s why the “fake news” media is so popular as a term these days in some senses.
Because corporations being the ultimate controller of the information you have access to is less fair to the people because these corporations are not democratically elected entities, Net Neutrality looked to reign in any potential for corporations to control the information you get to know! Net Neutrality in 2015 looked to classify the internet as a common carrier like telephones are! This was a huge positive and set the precedent for giving the people control over what they can access on the internet. Any regulations on the internet there after would have to be done through a government justice agency like the FBI (these are the guys that stop the bad guys like child porn dudes and terrorists).
The new regulations remove the common carrier status and give corporations complete control over the information that you get to see on the internet! Not good! It also removes the enforcement and shifts the creation of internet rules from democratically elected government entities to private corporations.