The internet has taken over our lives and become an intrinsic part of our day-to-day activities. So much so that we can no longer imagine living without it. For us, generation x, millennials and generation z, it is nearly impossible to imagine internet which is not as free and open.
But that may not always remain the case. The Federal Communications Commission, also known as FCC has drafted a new resolution upon instructions of the Trump administration. This resolution aims precisely at making open internet a luxury for only those who can afford it and which is why it is now more than important to explain net neutrality.
Net Neutrality Explained
Data is sent around the internet in the form of small packages, technically known as packets. Users who browse through the internet send and receive these packets, mostly without any restrictions.
Net Neutrality ensures that all the users can receive all the packets at the same rate, without any discrimination based on users’ location, or the type of content they are trying to access. However, the big fishes of the digital age do not like net neutrality at all.
To understand more about net neutrality in a simpler way, see this video.
Having net neutrality means that users can:
- Access any content from around the world without any restrictions
- Enjoy maximum download and upload speeds without any throttling
- Have the right to freedom of expression and say what’s on their mind
- Practice innovation and entrepreneurship by having access to global audience
- Enjoy the internet like other utilities, such as water and electricity
Why ISPs Are Against Net Neutrality?
Currently, all service providers are bound to provide full bandwidth to their users at all times. In doing so, the load on their infrastructure increases considerably. Getting rid of net neutrality will allow ISPs to serve twice as many users with only small investments in their infrastructure.
Putting it simply, ISPs would be legally able to:
- Provide slower streaming and downloading speeds
- Significantly increase prices on their packages
- Charge a premium for specialized content
Just a reminder of what the internet will be like when the GOP gets rid of Net Neutrality. It'll also be fun when your ISP blocks sites they don't agree with too. Just change ISPs? Most places don't have a choice. Good luck with that nonsense. #SaveNetNeutrality pic.twitter.com/6Zoy1vnouF
— Jakkal (@JakkalWolf) November 20, 2017
Other Enemies of Net Neutrality
There are multiple factors which work against net neutrality. These are as follows:
Corporations/Governments: When corporations and governments decide what users can and can’t see on the internet, we lose one of our basic rights to a free and open internet.
Intrusion: When ISPs start discriminating between different types of content, they become invasive and intrude in their users’ digital life. While it helps them cut down expenses, it costs users their privacy.
Anti-Censorship: Over the past 15 years, the internet has faced a lot of censorship based on political, legal and social grounds. This is yet another way of making users devoid of their rights to open and free internet.
The enemies are coming to loot the city and burn down the library. It's myopic and pyrrhic but the dollar sign blinds and corrupts. You won't hear anything of net neutrality in the news because it is against the interests of their parent company. #netneutrality #netneutraility pic.twitter.com/8IBViPE4fw
— Wayne Massey (@WayneMassey) November 22, 2017
Why is Net Neutrality Important?
No one ever wants to access an internet that is at the mercy of corporations. Because if that happens, free and open internet will become a far-fetched dream. Net Neutrality is important to ensure the following:
- Give rise to healthy competition among ISPs
- Stop unfair price practicing
- Promote more innovations
- Generate more ideas
- Bring more success for entrepreneurs
- Provide free rights to speech
Net Neutrality’s Effects on Consumers
Net Neutrality is the first ever amendment to the internet. It is a basic and simple principle that says:
“No ISP has the right to discriminate and charge differently on the basis of a user, content, website, application, modes of communication and type of attachments. Hence, treat all the data on the internet equally”.
Net Neutrality is that ingredient which makes the dish of internet more delicious and fun. And everyone wants the internet to remain free and open.
You want the government to regulate the internet? You mean like they’ve regulated public education, healthcare, and the pending student loan disaster? No thanks. #NetNeutrality
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) November 27, 2017
SOPA/PIPA – Internet Blacklist Legislation:
In 2012, the Hollywood along with the US Congress proposed a bill to ban all websites that provided illegal access to users for downloading pirated content. While this bill primarily aimed at the piracy, it also engulfed significant political and other speeches and content on the Web, which was at risk of being blocked.
Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) received severe backlash from the public. The US Congress had no option but to reject both the bills on reasons provided by the resistance. The public reasoned that such a bill would:
- Reduce freedom of expression
- Increase cybersecurity risk
- Undermine the dynamics of innovative global internet
Your Efforts Are Worth It!
It may seem that you are just one in a billion internet users, but you hold great power to decide and shape your future. The administrations and big corporations have made similar attempts in the past as well, with at least 4 attempts during 2005 and 2010.
It was the sheer power of individual users who voted against these resolutions and ensured their reversals each time. This time as well, if users act in time, the internet can remain a public utility providing fast and free access to users around the world.
Our aim is to provide awareness to the online population about net neutrality and the consequences that may follow without it. Only then can the masses raise their voices and enable humanity to retain its freedom of expression, which is tied with net neutrality.
Raise Your Voice
To raise their voice, citizens of the online community have organized multiple demonstrations across the US. Everyone, who is even slightly concerned about their freedom of expression and wants to retain a free and open internet should participate in it.
- Protest outside Verizon Stores on December 7
- Fund a campaign to put up billboards
- Protest in Washington D.C. on December 13
- Make a call to your head of state
- Use ResistBot to send a text message to your head of state
- Sign a petition