How a VPN can help you prepare for the end of net neutrality

Authored by a Symantec employee


As of June 11, 2018, U.S. net neutrality rules will expire, and new regulations will take effect giving Internet Service Providers (ISPs) broad new powers over how consumers can access the internet.

That means the law that mandates ISPs treat all data on the internet the same way will cease to exist. Net neutrality is the law that prevents ISPs — like large cable and telephone companies — from blocking, throttling the loading speed of, or discriminating against any form of legal content on the internet.

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has repealed regulations that prevented ISPs from controlling the speed of internet access and the availability of websites and their services to customers. As an ISP customer, this could mean you will see a lot of changes in the way you experience the internet.

The two sides of the net neutrality story

As with any story, there are two sides when it comes to net neutrality.

Pro net neutrality

Those in favor of net neutrality believe in the principle that the internet should be equally available to everyone. ISPs should not be allowed to block, slow down, or charge extra for access to certain websites or services. For example, your ISP should provide the same bandwidth for a well-known service like YouTube as it does for your personal blog page, without favoring one type of content over the other.

Anti net neutrality

Opponents of net neutrality believe that eliminating net neutrality would free up more financial resources for ISPs to invest in improving internet access in underserved areas. This could lead to more development and better services in the ISP sector, and could potentially benefit internet users in the long run.

What does the end of net neutrality mean to you?

The repeal of net neutrality could mean more power for ISPs and cable companies. Service providers can now regulate internet traffic as they deem fit. They have the right to block certain content from reaching their customers. They could slow down or block content from their competitors to favor content from their own organization. All this could also lead to an increase in fees for accessing the internet. 

Using a VPN after the net neutrality repeal

A virtual private network (VPN) makes a Wi-Fi network private, whether it’s in your home or at a coffee shop. A VPN masks your IP address and establishes a secure and encrypted connection. After the end of net neutrality, ISPs will be able to track your IP address to observe what you do online and to enforce throttling as they see fit. A VPN has the potential to provide anonymity and prevent ISPs from tracking your activity. What they can’t see, they can’t control.

The key is to get a no-log VPN, such as Norton WiFi Privacy. With this type of VPN, the provider doesn’t save any information — like your personal details, where you go online, what you download, or what you search for. Therefore, your privacy and anonymity are protected from everybody — even your VPN provider.

Can ISPs throttle the speed of VPN traffic?

ISPs can see your IP address when you use a VPN. But thanks to encryption, they can’t see what data you’re accessing or sending.

ISPs may have the power to throttle bandwidth and slow down all VPN traffic or whitelist certain websites. However, that would be a big task to enforce. Many companies and government offices use VPNs to secure their data. It would be a huge undertaking for ISPs to throttle traffic on all VPNs.

The repeal of net neutrality is an important milestone in the history of the internet. But knowledge is power. You can act to protect your online freedom by being proactive and better understanding how a VPN, like Norton WiFi Privacy, can help shield your information.

Your device may not be secure.

Public Wi-Fi isn’t always safe. Without the right protection, your personal information could become public. Protect yourself with Norton WiFi Privacy. It encrypts the personal information you send and receive on public Wi-Fi to help keep it private wherever you want to log on.

Help protect your information with Norton WiFi Privacy.

Symantec Corporation, the world’s leading cyber security company, allows organizations, governments, and people to secure their most important data wherever it lives. More than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton and LifeLock comprehensive digital safety platform to help protect their personal information, devices, home networks, and identities.

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