Even if you're not an electrical engineer, you have a general idea of how the internet works. It's a global network — literally a worldwide web — of interconnected computers. The modern internet was invented to be a free and open network that allows anyone with a web connection to communicate directly with any individual or computer on that network [source: World Wide Web Foundation].
Over the past 25 years, the internet has transformed the way we do just about everything. Think about the conveniences and services that wouldn't exist without the Internet:
The internet has evolved so quickly and works so well precisely because the technology behind the Internet is neutral. In other words, the physical cables, routers, switches, servers and software that run the Internet treat every byte of data equally. A streaming movie from Netflix shares the same crowded fiber optic cable as the pictures from your niece's birthday. The Internet doesn't pick favorites.
That, at its core, is what net neutrality means. And that's one of the most important reasons why you should care about it: to keep the internet as free, open and fair as possible, just as it was designed to be.