Network Neutrality -- or "Net Neutrality" for short -- is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet. Put simply, Net Neutrality means no discrimination. Net Neutrality prevents Internet providers from blocking, speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination. Net Neutrality is the reason why the Internet has driven economic innovation, democratic participation, and free speech online. It protects the consumer's right to use any equipment, content, application or service on a non-discriminatory basis without interference from the network provider. With Net Neutrality, the network's only job is to move data -- not choose which data to privilege with higher quality service. Who wants to get rid of Net Neutrality? The nation's largest telephone and cable companies -- including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner -- want to be Internet gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites go fast or slow and which won't load at all. They want to tax content providers to guarantee speedy delivery of their data. They want to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone services, and streaming video -- while slowing down or blocking their competitors. These companies have a new vision for the Internet. Instead of an even playing field, they want to reserve express lanes for their own content and services -- or those from big corporations that can afford the steep tolls -- and leave the rest of us on a winding dirt road. The big phone and cable companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to gut Net Neutrality, putting the future of the Internet at risk.
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