Politics

What’s Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is the one thing standing between us and a fair internet. If I wanted the government or corporations to regulate what I can and cannot see on the internet, I would move somewhere like China or North Korea.

Let me explain it a little better. Net Neutrality means that every site on the internet is treated equally. So if you’re a little book store and you’ve got a website, your site is treated the exact same way toward consumers as a big corporate giant. Every site is given the same internet speeds by ISPs and therefore, nobody gets an advantage over anybody else as far as accessibility goes. You get to have free and open access to sites regardless of what your ISP thinks of them.

Net neutrality means free speech. It means all things are neutral and fair.

I know what you’re thinking: that sounds great. It sounds like it gives the people exactly what they want regarding the internet: the freedom to connect with the sites, products, experiences, and people that they want to interact with, without fear that someone is stepping on their rights.

So what’s the problem?

Your internet service provider is the problem. It’s simple, really. I’ll give you an example. Say your ISP is your cable or satellite company, and they would rather you use their streaming service than somebody else’s. So…they charge other streaming services ridiculous amounts of money to reach customers at the exact same speeds they give themselves. If the site can’t pay the fees, they are regulated to a slower internet speed. Now, as the customer, which site are you going to use? The one that has to stop and buffer a million times, or the one that works quickly? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

And what if your internet company, unbeknownst to you, is a believer in the flat earth theory? So then they decide that any site that has a picture of the earth from space, or any site that says anything about the earth being round at all is just going to be blocked from your internet. Without net neutrality, there’s nothing to stop them from doing so. Now I picked a bit of a ridiculous example there, but imagine the damage it could do with a political candidate that your ISP doesn’t agree with or something the CEO objects to for whatever reason?

Can you see how this would be a problem?

It’s not to give you the best customer experience, or even the most fair. It’s all about how much more money they can make on the side, charging companies to compete for better service and then weeding out the small guys. They’ll line their pockets while we are given less and less choice on the internet, our browsing gets slower, and the content we want is increasingly put out of reach of our patience or disappears altogether. And the guy who is supposed to be in charge of the FCC, who oversees communications like the internet, is an ex-phone and internet provider CEO. How is THAT guy going to be objective? Of course he’s against it! He worked for one of the very companies that stands to benefit the most from getting rid of the rules!!

I say we march on the FCC and tell them to keep net neutrality rules in place!