Right now overwhelming boredom is rolling over you as you fall into a deep, peaceful slumber. Net neutrality is probably not a word that you care much about at the moment. In light of a few recent changes I thought it might be a good idea to give you the ugly truth about what could be happening soon. Imagine walking into a public library and grabbing one of your favorite books and sitting down to read it. As you read this book one of the librarians approaches you and says “Sir, how would you like to pay today”. The librarian would then explain to you that unfortunately because of the wear and tear to the library that specific book has caused over the years, what with all kinds of people wanting to read it all the time, there would now be an added charge to read that book. “You could certainly browse through are free titles up towards the front”
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This kind of logic is the same that some very large Internet service provider’s or ISP’s here in the U.S. seem to be using. Net neutrality is quite literally, freedom on the internet. The ability to go to whatever legitimate website you choose to go to for free is being threatened. The saddest aspect of recent legislation is how it will affect education, public libraries, college students and low to middle income families who have young children in school. The principal up until recently is that the ISP’s were to be sort of a “dumb” pipeline from you to the world wide web, much like your telephone line or cable. A recent ruling by a federal appeals court has set this idea into motion. Basically your ISP’s without net neutrality in their way, can freely slow down websites that they simply don’t like. They may also charge you to access certain premium tiers of internet. Are you mad yet, just wait.
Another perspective shines a less than flattering light on the FCC, the supposed loser/winner (I’m scratching my head too) in a recent battle against Verizon. Usually when things like this happen we are told that those big mean companies are causing all the problems and they want to rob schools and middle to low income families, families with young children in school etcetera. What if it wasn’t Verizon or At&t or any other large ISP that was truly leading this fight. The FCC is spinning the loss in court as a victory that establishes the ability of consumers to go anywhere and view anything legitimate on the web free (I’m scratching my head again). Could it be that the FCC is really just laying the foundation for tightly restricted legislation over our internet content. It would certainly seem like that is their intention, considering the only reason net neutrality was struck down was because it lacked legal framework needed to substantiate the FCC’s authority in the matter.
While both are compelling arguments, it might be that neither are good for us consumers. The hope is that we stop big businesses from getting too big so that they discriminate and help out other deep pocketed clients more than their everyday consumers. The concern is that we’re trusting a government (who has a history of breaking trust) to legislate responsibly and not acquire more and more control as they mound legislation like a gigantic political snowball. It could be nothing, but if you take a look at how the rest of the world gets their internet you’ll be thankful for the way yours is delivered, at least for now.