Net neutrality Part II: Let's dive a little deeper
Can you explain what the "paid priority" or Internet "fast lane" is really about?
The idea of a fast lane, or "paid prioritization," means that traffic on your broadband connection will get preferential treatment during times of congestion.
If you think of the Internet like a highway and the packets of data are like cars, a priority service or "fast lane" would create an HOV lane for certain kinds of content during rush hour. This would allow the high priority traffic to get through the network first.
This is most important for certain delay-sensitive traffic like video or audio. When packets don't arrive on time and in the right order for video, the stream freezes, or buffers, while it waits for the packets to arrive. Sometimes packets are dropped, which causes pixelation -- where parts of the image are a jumble of squares or missing squares. Overall, it's an unpleasant experience for the viewer.
For other types of traffic, congestion isn't as much of an issue. For example, for text-based services like email or web browsing. It might mean that it takes a little longer for an email to popup in your inbox or for your Facebook page to load.
Creating a so-called "fast lane" allows broadband providers to charge companies more money to send their delay-sensitive traffic first. In other words, if Netflix paid Verizon for a priority service, the Netflix traffic would get to ride in the HOV fast lane. Other web traffic that doesn't pay a priority won't get access to this fast lane.
The rules the FCC is now considering leave the door open for broadband providers to offer this type of service. But the proposal also asks whether this type of service should even be allowed.
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