How will our lives change when we lose net neutrality?

Net neutrality helps to balance the internet in such a way that internet service providers can’t use the laws to their benefits. This year (2017), a repeal against net neutrality is to be decided upon by the FCC in the United States. The United States is a country where the internet service providers are mostly monopolies created by the government. Therefore, the government, which controls the internet, will be biased in favour of these big businesses. And these businesses, owned by wealthy businessmen, will want to take advantage from removing such regulations and safeguards.

Despite the fact that the FCC in the United States is asking for net neutrality to be gone, the aftermath effects the whole world. The supporters of the repeal against net neutrality spread a list of countries which lack net neutrality in their law, trying to convince the public that even without net neutrality, such countries are doing great in regards to free and cheap internet use.

However, these European countries they keep listing never had a bandwidth or network issue, due to their strong enough internet infrastructure. The United States internet infrastructure, on the contrary, has been like a cheddar cheese. It is exploited by the ISPs to such a degree that the US can’t meet the quotas anymore, since they oversold the lines. Even the public funding that was used by such ISPs on public lands was never returned by these big business owners. Subscriptions were also oversold and all profits went to these companies. All ISPs laid the internet infrastructure with public funding on public land because they were allowed to. And nothing was ever paid back.

As a result, the internet infrastructure of the US was weakened, and will soon be handed over as private property to these ISPs, if they would be succesful at appealing the net neutrality law. This draconian overtake is expected to happen on 14 December 2017.

Without real competition among ISPs, the internet is nothing more than a heavily regulated tool of the elite and the people in power, for controlling news and discourse. Isn’t that what happened with your TV channels as well? Being subjected to the controlling mechanisms of the government, it is now hard to find informative and neutral news or programs and even while more TV channels become available, the price is also increasing and the quality is dropping.

When net neutrality is absent, it is ofcourse unlikely carriers would block entire services from being accessed by their customers because it will harm their business. However, they can use bandwidth throttling, since they will aim to force the users to select the carrier’s preferred alternative, to earn more on the packages they will be selling. If smaller companies wanted a better deal, ISPs like Comcast would ask for fees in exchange for such services.

Such deals will make the services small companies are selling to their customers more expensive, while paying for internet use as one fixed price package will be a thing from the past. Monopolized by the government, ISPs will be able to ask whatever price they want from site owners. Those not able to meet the demands, will see their sites slow down to a degree they can’t reach their followers anymore. In this case, both users and the site owners would have to pay for the services. Users for the internet access, and site owners to make sure the ISPs will not be not slowing down their website speed or the speed at which their videos stream.

In addition, customers will be accessing features like social media through service providers. Such redirected routes will make the internet experience for users complicated, even slower and more expensive.

Bigger companies like Google and Netflix (as they had to pay for Comcast in the past), will be able to pay for the fees ISPs will demand. For small companies, like alternative news sites and personal bloggers (for example, activists), it will be much harder to afford such fees..

ISPs, as big businesses, already have been abusing the internet while working with the government, by functioning as a regulator. Now in the US it will be even easier to block social media and any site unpopular with the big businesses or government. While small companies and a lot of sites all over the world may disappear, the big corporations will control the internet, even growing bigger and now armed with an effective strategy of creating an everlasting monopoly.

Sources:

The inside story of how Netflix came to pay Comcast for internet traffic

https://www.wsj.com/articles/netflix-agrees-to-pay-comcast-to-improve-its-streaming-1393175346

http://viapopuli.com/what-is-net-neutrality-and-why-is-it-important-for-a-free-internet-simplified-version

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2007/08/pearl-jam-censored-by-att-calls-for-a-neutral-net/

http://bsalert.com/news/853/Comcast_Caught_Filtering_Political_E-Mails.html

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