President Obama rattled the internet this week when he unloaded his opinion on net neutrality, the notion that all internet traffic should be treated equally. But to really understand what’s going on here, you should return to a moment earlier this year, when many American had trouble watching movies and TV shows on Netflix.
U.S. consumers were paying internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon for access to online applications like Netflix—which streams its movies and TV shows over the network—but the big ISPs weren’t letting that happen. Instead, they were allowing back-end connection points—the middle ground between Netflix’s video servers and their customers —to become overwhelmed with data. This meant that for many Verizon and Comcast customers, internet shows like “House of Cards” weren’t playing very well.
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