What Net Neutrality Means For The Future
The current state of the internet
In 2014, I was a senior in high school. I remember sitting in my classroom and reading The Verge. I found an article title, The Internet is Fucked. I wouldn’t be the same after that. I learned more about net neutrality and not only how it affected me, but how it affected everyone on the internet.
What does net neutrality mean?
To actually understand what I’m talking about, we have to first define net neutrality. Google Dictionary defines it as the following:
the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.
In simple terms, it means that the internet speed you pay for is consistent throughout the entire internet. You can stream HD movies, download those large files, and browse the internet at a fast paced. Sounds great right? Of course!
But, without net neutrality, ISPs (AT&T, Comcast, Verizon) will slow you down if you don’t pay them more money. So, if you don’t pay them more money, your internet will basically be slower, and if you do decide to pay, you’re going to be paying more for the exact same speed your getting now.
This isn’t a new concept, either. Back in 2014, ISPs were actually doing this. Verizon was blocking apps on phones, Comcast was excusing it’s own apps from data caps, and AT&T was asking startups to pay for “sponsored data” to get better access to customers. The FCC didn’t really know how to stop it, but in 2015 they eventually passed net neutrality rules and everyone was happy.
Who’s fighting against net neutrality?
Well, the ISPs. If net neutrality is repealed, it means that the ISPs will have tight control over the internet and it’s users. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai brought back this fight, and is a key player in repealing it.
Who’s fighting for net neutrality?
Thousands of companies. Netflix, Twitter, Vimeo, Reddit & Pinterest are just some names to throw out there that are supporting it. They’re putting banners or messages that redirect their customers to The Battle For The Net, the easiest way to reach out to Congress.
But, why are these big companies fighting for net neutrality? They’re already doing really well. They don’t necessarily need it. They could easily strike deals with the ISPs so everything will basically remain the same for them.
For one, they don’t want to controlled even more by the ISPs. The employees at Netflix are also people. So at the end of the day, they’re largely going to be affected by it. They’re going to have to pay more for their internet and they don’t want that. Honestly, nobody fucking wants this.
What does this mean for the future?
One really big obvious downside to this being repealed is it absolutely destroys any up and coming businesses. New startups will have to work a lot harder and spend more money to even play the game. I don’t support that at all, because I’m going to be one of those little guys in the next 3–5 years.
We have until July 17th to basically save the internet. So, if you’d like to help the movement, reach out to Congress, tell them off, and hopefully net neutrality will stick around. To be honest, I think it will. And even if it doesn’t, we’ve fixed it before. We’ll just have to wait until a certain person is out of office. So, if Kanye is a supporter of net neutrality, he’s already got a leg up in the 2020 election.