Net neutrality is a law that was put into place during former President Barack Obama’s administration. It was enacted in 2015 after millions of comments by supporters of net neutrality on the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) forums. The thing that makes net neutrality so important is that it reclassified the internet as a telecommunications service. This reclassification allows the FCC to uphold net neutrality as it is to enforce the law.
Having the internet classified as a telecommunications service qualifies it as a common carrier, which allows the FCC to regulate it. Now, because of the new FCC board that was appointed by President Donald Trump, net neutrality may face eradication.
In a world where net neutrality is nonexistent, the way the internet is currently run and distributed to users could be extensively different. The form of these changes could be enacted in various ways, but popular debate and hypothetical situations among net neutrality supporters say discrimination of internet traffic would be the norm. Internet traffic is any type of service that uses the internet. Downloads from websites or basically anything that requires using an internet connection could face discrimination by internet service providers (ISPs).
If net neutrality disappeared, a possible situation that may occur is throttling. Throttling is like if someone is using Netflix, but it then becomes blocked or extremely slow one day. In theory, ISPs could force popular services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and YouTube to pay extra money for a user to access their site normally. If the service decides not to pay, then users trying to access the website or video service will face excruciatingly slow loading times or entirely blocked sites.
This is why it is extremely important for net neutrality to stay in place. The internet as a whole could become a tiered entity where the rich have access to all the content at normal speeds, while the poor have to deal with blocked websites and slow loading times. The only people who are in favor of destroying net neutrality are internet companies who would finally be able to take advantage of an unregulated internet.
If net neutrality does die, every U.S. internet user will be at the whim of ISPs. The overall experience as a user and consumer of the internet will be degraded for all. The destruction of net neutrality will also lessen competition because websites and services who lack the funds of multimillion dollar companies like Netflix and Amazon will not be able to pay for users to access sites normally.
I urge anyone reading this to try and stop net neutrality from being erased. Post a comment on the FCC forums in favor of net neutrality, write to your local congressmen/representative or sign a growing petition over at battleforthenet.com. If the citizens are loud enough, we will be heard. Fight for an open internet or the services and websites we typically use will never be the same again.