When we use the Internet on a computer or a smartphone, we take a lot for granted. We assume we'll be able to access any website or use any application we want, whenever we want, at the fastest speed, whether it's a giant corporation’s website or one for a mom-and-pop business around the corner. We assume we can use any service we like — watch online videos, update our Facebook status, read the news — any time we choose, on any device we choose, without us or the website provider paying additional fees.
What keeps the Internet open is Net Neutrality — the longstanding principle that preserves our right to communicate freely online. This is the definition of a free and open Internet.
Net Neutrality means that Internet service providers may not discriminate between different kinds of online content and apps. It guarantees a level playing field for all websites and Internet technologies.
Net Neutrality is the reason the Internet has driven online economic innovation, democratic participation and free speech. It protects our right to use any equipment, content, application or service 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 and which to demote to a slower lane.
Section 4(e) Right to Equal Access to a Free and Open Internet. All residents of the City of Seattle shall possess the right to a free and open internet, which shall include, but not be limited to, the right to access, use, send, post, receive, or offer lawful content, applications, or services of the user’s choice, free from provider service and performance level discrimination based on the identity, source or type of individual content or service provider.
Net Neutrality is increasingly important in Seattle in light of the city's recent actions first shutting down its two municipal WiFi pilots in Columbia City and the University District and more recently leasing off its fiber to private parties. Says The Seattle Times, "Once the valuable sections are snapped up, the revenue they generate won't be available to help cover the cost of a citywide network providing service to everyone, in rich and poor neighborhoods." Seattle residents are now stuck dealing primarily with monopolies Century Link (DSL) and Comcast (cable).
Acknowledgments: Text on net neutrality was adopted from the Save the Internet website under it's Creative Commons Non-commercial Sharealike License.