This archived article was written by: Rodrigo Leon
The Internet is a place where we can meet new people, plan events, hold meetings, interact, read the news or learn about almost any topic in human history; all at our fingertips, from the comfort of our homes. The Internet has been one of the biggest developments in modern history and like with any other great thing, people want to know how to make the most amount of money off it, regardless of the price.
Since the Internet went live worldwide to the public in August 1991, it has been a charged service. Back then few people thought the Internet was going to grow and thus it wasn’t something a company needed to monetize and market. With its astronomical growth, we have seen an equal if not greater growth in the marketing around in and about the Internet. This leads us to where we have the FCC trying to repeal net neutrality which makes it so ISPs can’t charge you to have access to certain sites or speed up or slow down certain sites.
Net neutrality means when you pay for your Internet, you get access to the whole Internet all at the same speed, but if net neutrality is repealed they won’t have to. With net neutrality repealed, we can see ourselves paying for Internet by packages; we would have the Internet payment and the email package (Gmail, Hotmail, live, etc.), the social media package (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.), the streaming package (YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Twitch etc.) and more, each one having its own cost, making the ability to have access to the whole Internet incredibly expensive.
Potentially worse than the skyrocketing costs of a sections-off Internet would be the ability for ISPs to speed up, slow down or ban a site. For example, let’s say Comcast got paid by Netflix to speed up their streaming speeds making Netflix a better experience on Comcast Internet. If Hulu wants to compete, they would need to pay Comcast a large sum to simply keep up with Netflix, while this specific scenario doesn’t seem bad, what happens to small streaming sites who can’t compete with large corporations’ ability to pay to be faster and better on what should be a fair medium. This kind of behavior would slash competition for multiple services that are only accessible via Internet.
This kind of damage hurts the Internet severely because of how sectioned and monopolized it would become. This is a big issue due to the fact that the Internet is many peoples’ medium of communication, news, information, and more; that is only true because of the ability to find anything and any site being easily accessible. Allowing ISPs to control these things would allow them to essentially have companies and people’s lives in a chokehold by being able to charge for all sorts of Internet communication.
People trying to repeal net neutrality say that this will in-sensitize competition and that ISPs won’t use it maliciously, yet we have Ars Technica reported that Comcast has hinted at creating paid fast lanes immediately after net neutrality is repealed. We have similar things already happening with T-mobile giving people free data on their partner’s services, and these kinds of plans are evaluated on a case by case basis. There would not be any competition amongst ISPs because they have regional monopolies, which means that in certain regions they have no other competitors and you have no other choice than the one currently in your area. No competition and this model fails to do any good for the consumer.
Net neutrality is a key component of the Internet, and without it, the only people who lose are the consumers. This is about ISPs’ bottom line. They don’t care about your experience on the Internet since you can’t go to any other company but them. They are willing and able to profit off you at any cost. Message your senator, your representative and get involved to protect net neutrality.
The only people who benefit are ISPs; do not let them repeal net neutrality.