What’s Up with Net Neutrality?

What’s Up with Net Neutrality?

It’s time to discuss the action that may change the future of the internet as we know it.

There have been a lot of discussions going on for the past year on a very large issue. Since as early as January, the citizens of the United States have been worried over something that, if successful, could possibly change the way we use internet for a long time. Even though there have been millions of people against this action, it was, unfortunately, successful, and in many ways, will negatively affect everyone that uses the internet. Passed yesterday by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) was the repeal of the Net Neutrality Title 2 regulations.

I’ll give you a rundown on why Net Neutrality was passed in the first place. Back in 2015, Net Neutrality was created so that big Internet Service Providers would not be able to abuse their monopoly powers and they would legally not be able to throttle certain websites to boost others, block websites, provide paid fast lanes, and put certain websites behind pay-walls provided by the ISP itself. This was partly related to when Comcast was throttling Netflix servers under their network unless Netflix paid a large sum of money to stop it. Before 2015, rules similar to Net Neutrality were too vague and potentially offered loopholes and back doors to find ways around what the original rules were if there were any, to begin with. This was originally a big win for the common users of the internet as this would no longer be allowed to do. It was a mission accomplished, but it wouldn’t last for long.

Many politicians love to be paid for opinions and decisions. That’s essentially the gist of what happened here, as many politicians were essentially bought out to say something and give whatever idea that was more credibility and a stronger chance for that to get passed. I won’t point out specific political parties, but I will say that some politicians were paid a few thousand dollars to essentially damage the internet and change it from what it is now. It might seem like a lot to you, but it really isn’t when you take into account how much politicians usually get paid to begin with.

When it was announced that the Net Neutrality repeal vote would get scored in a month (specifically Mid-December), the internet went haywire for that month. The day that was announced, almost every post in the front 5-6+ pages of the front page of my Reddit homepage (yours may have differed) were just posts urging people to check out what was going on to one link. Almost consistently that month, the posts were still popping up, and many companies around the country were also showing their support as well.

It was December 14th, 2017 that the internet itself knew that time was about to run out. While protesters kept coming in strong, what was expected happened (even if barely). A vote of 3-2 was done later that day, and the internet was about to change for the worse (unless you’re a corporation that’s currently monopolized in two-thirds of the United States).

It is simply disheartening that the internet may no longer be open and fair for the large majority of the country I live in. ISPs like AT&T and Comcast will now be able to prioritize services over others, throttle certain websites, block certain websites, and bundle services originally unassociated with your ISP together in order to block them. This means that you may soon have to pay for both the subscription to Netflix or Hulu as well as pay for access to it from your Internet Service Provider. This is downright disturbing to think about, as this is what our future may now hold for us. A country that may now have higher bills and a worsened internet experience for almost everyone. I can’t say they will do this, but with these regulations gone, they have every legal right to do so. Even if they may massive backlash for it, would you care if you knew they didn’t have any other option? Only the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is left to make sure that they, at least for the time being, keep their voluntary commitments at this point (according to one source). If not… we’ll definitely be in some trouble.

Comcast is clearly a large reason on why people wanted Net Neutrality to stay, as they are truly the guys running a monopoly for tens of millions of Americans in the United States. This is what Comcast has said on what they’ll do with Net Neutrality gone:

  • We do not block, slow down, or discriminate against lawful content.
  • We believe in full transparency in our customer policies.
  • We are for sustainable and legally enforceable net neutrality protections for our customers.

They originally had a spot to not have paid prioritization, but have since removed it when the Net Neutrality vote was looming. This was one of the three big things that ISPs weren’t able to do with Net Neutrality and has since been removed as a result. This means that, at any time, Comcast could introduce this into their plans, and for most of us, we’ll be forced into it thanks to Xfinity being such a monopoly at the moment. Due to some conditions with their NBCUniversal merger, this technically can’t begin properly until sometime in September 2018, but this just gives Comcast plenty of time to prepare things and to have this take effect as soon as possible once those conditions expire.
The following are tweets created by large supporters behind Net Neutrality and their response to it being repealed recently:

If you still want the internet to remain open and fair for everyone without changes to the way we communicate, there may still be hope with Congress overturning the decision. I highly suggest checking out https://www.battleforthenet.com/ for more information on that. You should also check out the petition that wants to save Net Neutrality that I support here: https://www.change.org/p/save-net-neutrality-netneutrality . If you guys have any questions and found out that I said something incorrect, please let me know and I’ll gladly change it along with the correct source if provided as well.

 

Sources:

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