How would you feel if the water company decided how much water pressure you should have? Or the electric company controlled the amount of power going into your house? That is basically what getting rid of net neutrality will allow companies such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and other internet service providers (ISP) to do. Legislation is being proposed to end net neutrality thus allowing ISPs not just to control the speed but in the end, let them control what information and data that we can get. It is more than just slowing down Netflix and making them pay for their content to go through the speed lane instead of the slow lane. Yes that is bad already but in the end, it ultimately allows ISPs to censor information. Yes they will control our right to information and data that we pay them to deliver. Yes we pay them to slow down the information that we want.
Well this first started like all weird things that happened in our country recently, we elected Trump to the presidency. His deregulation agenda put Ajit Pai, an ISP advocate in charge of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Deregulation is not necessary bad but it is when it can cripple our individual rights and access to information. Pai who formerly worked for Verizon, a beneficiary of the regulation, spearheaded a proposal to end net neutrality for the commission to vote on in December. Since the commission if majority Republicans, it is a near certainty that this will pass. Net neutrality will be dead soon.
Why did this happen?
Money. A lot of money. ISPs can make million of dollars without net neutrality. By treating ISPs like utilities, government can regulate how ISPs charge and deliver their product which data. We do this with normal utilities like water, gas, and electricity because if utilities were to do business without constraint when consumers do not have any other option, we have high prices and poor service. Remember Enron and the deregulation of 2000 in California? Most of us do not have many options in terms of ISPs. They already charge us high prices to use their cables for data delivery. When ISP are free from net neutrality, they can have fast lanes and slow lanes for information delivery. No we do not have a choice of which data is delivered fast or slow. It is up to the ISP.
This allows the ISP to now charge companies that use a lot of bandwidth to pay for faster delivery. This means millions of extra dollars for ISPs and millions of lobbying dollars for greedy soul selling politicians who support this type of crony capitalism. In the end, we may not pay more for ISP service but we will pay more for all other services. Netflix will have to pay Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner and Comcast but we will pay with higher prices. Facebook, Youtube and other services will pay more and deliver more ads to compensate. Thus companies will pay higher advertising cost which will make products more expensive. All this extra money that we pay goes into the pockets of owners of ISPs. Small content companies will not be able to be seen since they are on the slow lane. Do you have important content and want to deliver that message? Sorry buddy, you cannot afford it. Kiss your nearest ISP's ass for entry to the fast lane.
What does this have to do with freedom and equality
Removing net neutral is more than just about slow lanes and fast lanes. It is about our freedom. Imagine if ISP designed many many types of lanes. Everyone is on the slow lane at first. People with the most money can pay to go to the fast lane like a toll road. So companies who have money like Facebook, Amazon, Google and Netflix will deliver their content fine. It will hurt their bottom line a little bit but they will do business as usual. But everyone have the opportunity to pay right? What if an ISP is owned by someone with a preference for certain content. Perhaps Russian cartoons are well liked by the people in charge of the ISP. So they can put them in the fast lane at a lower charge or no charge at all. Perhaps they can put them into the fast lane before companies who pay or even the ones who pay the most. Everyone loves Russian cartoons right? No biggie. In the similar way, the ISP can put certain content in the slow lane. Worst yet the ISP do not have to give them an opportunity to be in the fast lane even when it can pay. Well you say it's just slow but what if it's painfully slow. Dial up "watching paint dry" slow. The information may never get there especially if it's a message that people in charge of the ISP does not want delivered. It can end up as censorship. Guess whose message would be censor. Would it be the message of people who supported getting rid of net neutrality. Nope. Probably the people who support net neutrality. Good luck with that net neutrality lovers.
Getting rid of net neutrality is like getting rid of our right to information. If you value your right to free information, keep freedom alive. Keep net neutrality.