00:00 AM

Genealogy and net neutrality


NOT a political issue

Net neutrality, for a genealogist, is not a political issue.

It’s a pocketbook issue.

And it’s one that could hit every one of us in our pocketbooks if we lose the protections of rules guaranteeing net neutrality.

Rules that are in dire jeopardy because of a vote scheduled tomorrow before the Federal Communications Commission.

Here’s what net neutrality is — and why it’s important to those of us who live on our computers and our internet connections, like The Legal Genealogist and so many in our genealogical community.

Net neutrality rules mean that internet service providers — the cable companies and wireless firms like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and others — have to treat all content on the internet the same way. They can’t charge more to a content provider like, say, The Legal Genealogist, to show up in your daily email or on your screen, and they can’t charge you more for access to, say, Netflix.

Net neutrality rules mean that content providers who can’t afford to pay big bucks still get the same bandwidth as content providers who can afford it.

Think FamilySearch as a free website on one side, and your choice of Big Genealogy Subscription website as a pay service on the other side. With net neutrality rules, both get the same right to send data out on the web, and you get access to both the same way. Without net neutrality rules, the service providers could throttle the free one back in favor of the paid service, or make you pay more for one than the other.