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by Neal Walters, Public Policy Institute, October 2, 2017
The basis of the open Internet, or net neutrality, is the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) must provide equal access to all legal content and applications. An open Internet ensures that Internet users have the freedom to choose which content they see online and which services they use by prohibiting ISPs from favoring content or applications from one source over another. An open Internet also protects consumers from having some Internet content and services made slower and less reliable because other sources are prioritized over it.
The potential loss of the open Internet is a concern for older Internet users. Without an open Internet, ISPs could slow connection speeds for some services and impact the ability of older Americans to quickly access content that is important to them, such as distance learning, the ability to work from home, telehealth services, and aging-in-place solutions that support independent living. Further, the cost of Internet services for consumers could increase if websites have to pay ISPs for priority service and pass these costs onto consumers.
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