Net Neutrality has been a highly talked about and controversial topic in the news. However, despite seeming like a complex topic, it is based on a basic principle. This principle is that all content on the internet should be treated equally.
Without any Net Neutrality laws or regulations in place, your Internet Service Provider would be allowed to slow down your access to certain websites or services or force you to fork up money to access them. They could also just outright block whatever services or websites they wanted.
Life without Net Neutrality is a real thing. A famous tweet from an American politician shows a page from Meo, an Internet Service Provider in Portugal. It offers various different packages made up of applications, websites, and services that are not provided in the standard plan. If you want access to messaging, you must pay up 4.99 euros per month to gain access to Whatsapp, Skype, Facetime, and a few more services. However, if you would like to use music apps, you must also add a different plan which also costs 4.99 a month...
In many countries around the world, this is not a massive problem as there is a high amount of competition. The network is open and third-party service providers can access the network and offer their own unique services to people.
However, in the US, this competition is nonexistent. 61% of American’s have access to only one service provider. 16% have access to two service providers and just 2% have access to three or more providers. This means that for 61% of Americans if one ISP begins violating Net Neutrality and slowing down/blocking access to different websites and services, they are powerless as they have no alternatives.Tweet
You have access to the internet through a service provider. This allows you to go on Youtube and watch as many videos as you like. You can always expect to have the same speed whether you are using Youtube, Google, or any other service.
However, without Net Neutrality it might always be the same. In this case, imagine dinner. Let’s say your family has a rule that your mom will always give you and your brother dinner at the same time. However one night, this rule goes away. Your mom says this “I will give dinner to someone 30 mins early if you pay $10.” Now replace your mom with your service provider and dinner with your access to websites/services. That would be the case if there is no net neutrality.Tweet
The Internet (at least in the US) is at a crossroads as the FCC is considering rolling back net neutrality regulations. If net neutrality is abolished, the Internet could shift from an essential service that all consumers can access to a product that can be packaged and sold to the highest bidders.Tweet
Q : Who wants to get rid of it?
A : Largest internet service providers(ex. Verizon and Comcast) — want to be the Internet's gatekeepers, deciding which content will be send at what speed and which websites/services will even be available.
Q : How old is Net Neutrality?
A : Net Neutrality has existed since the creation of the World Wide Web. Pioneers of the internet have always wanted the Internet to be a open and network with no restrictions.Tweet