Let’s just say that 2017 was quite a rollercoaster, especially where the internet is concerned, with a number of leaks, hacks and data breaches getting us all worried.
But let’s all agree that none of this could take the cake from the most controversial decision ever conceived by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission): the repeal of net neutrality.
Although killing off net neutrality hasn’t yet entered into effect – as it first has to go through Congress, the Senate and then has to be signed by President Trump – once it does it’ll impact the life of everyone that owns an internet subscription. And, sadly, the changes could also mean the end of VoIP as we know it.
The Importance of Net Neutrality
Before the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was modified for the better in 2015, big telecom companies were not bound by any law to provide equal internet access to every user, and could handle certain websites and content preferentially. This lead to scandalous cases like the one involving AT&T and Skype, when the former throttled Skype calls back in 2009, which highlighted that the company was restricting use of the popular VoIP program to ensure customers switched over to using the more reliable cellular networks. Translating that from Corporate to plain English: ‘Don’t you dare use a service that is better and cheaper than ours, or it’ll be Hell on Earth for you.’
The net neutrality law was entered into effect to prevent ISPs from ever doing anything like this again. For the first time ever, it was enforced by law that no content could be favored over another, allowing internet service subscribers to use the internet for whatever purpose they want so long as they meet their contractual obligations and don’t exceed their data cap or conduct illegal activities.
How This Affects VoIP Services
Now that net neutrality was repealed, thanks to a certain Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, ISPs can once again do whatever they want, including slowing down or even completely blocking certain services for customers – paving the way for ISPs to make deals with certain sources to ensure their services receive special treatment. As explained by Ian Andrew Bell, co-founder of RingCentral, corporations like Amazon could easily pay AT&T to choke traffic to their competitors. At the same time we, the customers, will be forced to pick our preference and, worse still, pay for the privilege of it. This means deciding which content we want or, more precisely, can afford to access.
And VoIP is no exception, either: as a matter of fact, ISPs that also maintain their own phone services – like Comcast and its own VoIP service – could well do everything in their power to destroy competing internet telephony companies, using an excuse like claiming that VoIP uses too much data. The problem is that not only is this a complete and utter lie, but it’s also unfair to those who dropped their old, disappointing landline services in favor of a service that has business-grade features for cost-friendly prices.
How to Ensure an Unlimited VoIP Experience
However, there is no need to panic: even if the repeal of the net neutrality law is agreed to by Congress, the Senate, the President and – if this repeal is appealed on in court – the Supreme Court, nothing can really stop people from accessing their favorite content the same way that they used to before this madness came into our lives. All that needs to be done is to turn to a little trick called VPN.
With an active VPN you can disappear from the prying eyes of ISPs and do anything – like placing and receiving VoIP calls – without disruptions and without consuming precious data from your internet data package.
And if the connection is too slow, VPNs also provide the option to switch to another country where the internet speeds are better but net neutrality is guaranteed too.
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