About four years ago, I wrote a piece regarding the Open Internet called “Net Neutrality and the Internet Slowdown: What you need to know!”. In this blog post, I discussed a protest that was organized to show us how the Internet might look like if we lost Net Neutrality. On December 14th, 2017, the FCC voted to repeal the 2010 Open Internet Order. Net Neutrality is over.
For those of you who don’t know what the 2010 Open Internet Order was. It was a set of regulations implemented by the FCC that moved to establish what we call “Net Neutrality“. Net Neutrality in layman’s terms means that many people believe the Internet should be a free and open (unregulated) market.
I could spend an entire post, writing about why the FCC decided to repeal something that is in line with their strategic goals, but I won’t bore you with my political opinions. What I will do, is attempt to answer the following questions: “How will this affect me? And Is this the end of the Internet?”
It’s not really a matter of whether or not this will affect you. It’s a matter of how and when. Net Neutrality did far more than protect us from censorship. It prevented Internet Service Providers from throttling your bandwidth for streaming a movie instead of buying their cable service. So how will its removal affect you? In the place it hurts the most of course and unfortunately that is… your wallet!
Many Internet Service Providers are also Cable Companies and have vested interests in their own streaming services or have partnered with other companies to develop streaming services. Some speculate that ISPs might begin throttling traffic and charging more for competing services. Some examples of this might be a company like Verizon offering a discount for using sites and services it already owns (AOL and Yahoo), but charging customers more for using Google or Bing. Or Comcast and Time Warner (who own a portion of Hulu) could slow down Netflix traffic while keeping Hulu speeds nominal. It’s likely that in the near future one or both of the following things will happen: 1. ISPs’ will increase the cost of services overall; and/or 2. we will have to pay a surcharge for using services that take away from their profitability (such as Netflix, Hulu, and the like).
So, does this mean the Internet is dead? Absolutely not! While it may mean that your Internet and Cable bills may increase, it’s unlikely that ISPs will start mass censorship or block sites across the board.
It also doesn’t mean the fight is over. You can get more information on the fight for Net Neutrality at www.battleforthenet.com. While the FCC has repealed the Open Internet Order, there is still a chance Congress can overturn the vote. Make your voice heard and let your Congressperson know that you aren’t happy with this decision, and ask them to overturn the FCC vote. Your wallet may thank you for it!