Net neutrality: Not well-known, but people like the idea

May 15, 2014, 2:39 PM GMT+0

Most of the public haven't heard of the term 'net neutrality', but when they hear a little bit about it they overwhelmingly back the idea

Over the past months and years, few concepts within the world of tech and telecommunications has been as contested as 'net neutrality'. Though many of us haven't heard of it, it could have a major impact on the way we use the internet. Currently internet service providers (ISPs) aren't able to prioritize data from one source over another, but this could change if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moves forward with plans that were voted on today. With a 3-2 vote the FCC proposed new rules that would allow content producers (such as Netflix or Hulu) to pay ISPs (such as Comcast) money to ensure that their data moves smoothly through the country's internet system

The latest research from YouGov shows that, prior to this ruling at least, 63% of the country had never even heard of 'net neutrality', while only 37% are aware of the issue.

When Americans are shown brief statements laying out the two main options when it comes to net neutrality, however, there is wide support for maintaining net neutrality. 74% of the public thinks that ISPs should have to treat all data passing through their networks equally, though 26% do think that ISPs should be able to prioritize certain data in order to minimize network congestion.

Opposition to changing net neutrality rules has already been vociferous, with major figures in the tech world - including Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the internet - blasting plans to change the rules. Similar tech industry opposition has been successful in the past, most notably during the battle against the piracy laws SOPA and PIPA a couple of years ago.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: Getty