How has this become a political issue? Is this how divided we’ve become? Even when it comes to access to the internet, apparently we have to make it into a left vs. right argument. Oh, I know why – because President Obama dared to say that net neutrality is important and jackasses like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) feel the need to oppose anything and everything the president says. Not only that, but Republicans are shills for big business and these giant cable conglomerates really want to kill net neutrality.
Net neutrality should be one of the few things where there’s absolutely no debate among American consumers and politicians.
Let me break it down as simply as I can:
- Are you someone who uses the internet for work and/or pleasure? Then you should support true net neutrality.
- Are you a giant corporation that wants to further gouge the American consumer? Then you should oppose net neutrality.
Yes, it’s really that simple.
What net neutrality does is it ensures that the internet speed for which you’re paying Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner or whatever other internet provider you might have is the speed you’re getting when you’re using the internet. Meaning, if you’re paying Comcast to get 30 mbps download speeds, every website you visit will be delivered at the same speed. Whether you’re visiting CNN.com or YourLocalSmallBusiness.com, both sites will be available to you at the same speed.
Now, if that ends, then these internet providers can start throttling (slowing down) speed access to websites that aren’t paying them for premium access. Which means that if you’re paying for 30 mbps download speeds every month, you’ll only be given that speed for those websites that are willing or able to pay those premiums to your internet provider.
So let me paint a quick picture using Netflix as an example. Consumers who want Netflix pay Netflix $8.99 per month for their streaming service. Then let’s say the average consumer is paying $50 to their internet provider for 30 mbps download speeds.
Except – when they were using Netflix. Their internet provider will purposely slow down access to that content until Netflix pays more money so that the consumer can actually have usable access to the product and internet speed for which they are already paying.
If that sounds ridiculous, it should. But the terrifying part is – it already happened.
Then what happens one day when Netflix decides that they’re not going to absorb this cost, instead passing it on to the consumers? When that happens (and it will), at that moment, every consumer will then be charged more for Netflix so that they can have access to a product at the internet speeds for which they are already paying. In other words, they’re not just paying for their download speeds from their internet providers, but the right to have usable access to content on the internet.
And that’s just one example. This could potentially happen to every single website on the internet.
Small businesses owners who rely heavily on internet traffic being forced to pay fees they might not be able to afford just so that their customers can have access to their website at a usable download rate.
Killing net neutrality threatens small businesses, innovation, startup tech companies and even the news and information Americans have access to.
Now anyone who follows my writing knows I’m by no means an alarmist. But I say without hesitation that the end of true net neutrality terrifies me. To think that one day not only will access to the internet be controlled by these huge corporations like Comcast, but then the ability for Americans to gain access to the content on the internet will only be provided to those corporations willing to shell out huge sums of money to those internet providers.
And many Americans (like myself) don’t have a choice when it comes to which company they get their internet from. I either get Charter Communications (which is terrible) or I go without the internet. And that’s the same story for tens of millions of Americans all across this country.
I literally have zero patience for anyone who tells me that ending net neutrality isn’t a big deal. It’s a very big deal. You know when the internet goes crazy because someone who a lot of people know said something non-contextually offensive and you hear about it endlessly for weeks?
Well, that’s how people should be acting about ending net neutrality – x 1,000,000.
So, when someone says to me that they support companies like Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon in ending net neutrality, the only thing I have to say to them is: Are you out of your damn mind?