Net Neutrality

Demonstrators protest in front of the White House in support of Net Neutrality
Joseph Gruber / Flickr

In the late '90s when most around the world were still waking up to the internet, the Department of Justice and Microsoft were preparing to go head-to-head in a case many thought would define the future of software and digital commerce. Today’s net neutrality debate stands to have a similar impact, but will technical compliance regulations really deliver the equal access proponents insist it will?

Wikimedia Commons / wikimedia commons

President Barack Obama told the FCC he thinks it's time the independent agency acts on net neutrality, and regulate the Internet and service providers like other utilities.  It's uncertain how the FCC will act -- but Obama's request is being viewed as a "win" for consumers and businesses such as Netflix and Hulu and a blow to big telecom companies like Comcast and Verizon.

Matthew Yglesias, Vox: “Obama says FCC should reclassify the Internet’s regulatory status

The internet age has brought to us the ability to get large amounts of information, from across the globe, delivered to our fingertips within seconds. This access provides us with a powerful amount of interconnectedness, and information (not to mention entertainment!). But how should this access and interconnectedness be distributed? Should it be available to everyone equally, or should big companies - like Netflix and Amazon - be restricted because of the amount of data they are streaming? What does all of this mean for the economy, democracy and those of us just trying to stream movies at home?

Internet connection
Sean MacEntee/Flickr Creative Commons

Intersection on Monday will focus on the issue of Internet (or "net") neutrality — a tussle at the crossroads of law and technology that could end up affecting Americans' wallets.

To prepare you for the show, we've pulled together a short explanation of the topic, including a timeline of key dates.

What is net neutrality?