So, the FCC has plans to abolish net neutrality. They lie and manipulate to make it seem like this would be a good advancement for the world. The truth couldn’t be farther from that. So, let’s take some time to truly understand what this means, and go over why this will lead to nothing good for the consumer, and everything good for their ISPs.
First off, let’s try to understand what net neutrality is. Net neutrality is the idea that all data is created equal. Your ISP isn’t allowed to discriminate based on the data they’re providing you. In a system with net neutrality, your ISP can’t decide that they’re going to slow down your connection to Netflix, simply because Netflix hasn’t paid them. This is how the system is supposed to work. We shouldn’t have corporations standing in between us, and the data we want to take in. Giving ISPs this power would mean they would be able to discriminate the data coming through your internet connection, and it would give them the power to throttle the sites they don’t like. Abolishing net neutrality would make the Internet browsing experience of the average person worse, while making the giant companies even bigger.
One of the arguments that ISPs have for abolishing net neutrality is that it would allow them to create “fast lanes”, where data from certain sites can be prioritized over that from others. A video streaming site where lots of bandwidth is required could be given priority over other sites, and magically you’re getting better video! Or that’s how they want us to think about it. In reality, this wouldn’t be the case at all. Without net neutrality regulations, ISPs would also be able to “speed bump”, or throttle the existing pathways for data, while creating new pathways that cost extra, to get you the exact same speeds you were getting beforehand. A fast lane doesn’t mean you’ll be able to watch YouTube videos at 4k no matter how terrible the wifi otherwise is, it means that you’ll be able to watch YouTube videos like you can today, but with an added cost.
Not only would abolishing net neutrality be bad for the user, it could be bad for businesses that compete with services that your ISP provides. If they were able to make a decision about how fast your connection should be based on the data that you’re consuming, they would be able to slow every video streaming service to a crawl, while subliminally pointing their finger at “this lovely cable package”. Giving ISPs the power to pick and choose the data that you see would mean that sites competing with cable TV, or services competing with landline phones would be throttled to the point where you can’t experience their site enjoyably anymore.
In short, net neutrality is crucial to experiencing the internet as we know it today. Many of the activities that we engage with would be made unbearable or impossible were ISPs given the power to select the data that we’re able to consume. In their role, ISPs are and have always been equivalent to common carriers, but without the official legislation behind it. The FCC needs to take a stand against this, and designate internet service providers a title 2 common carrier. ISPs may claim that net neutrality holds them back, and that they could make the internet so much better were there not regulation standing in the way. But, in reality, a world without net neutrality is a world of censorship, slow connections speeds, and misery.