I apologise for the politics in this post, but this is an issue that is important to me, and I really want to speak my mind about it.
Today I urge you all to pay attention to Net Neutrality, even if you don’t game or create content like I do. Net Neutrality is the basis for our democracy, and gives us access to so much information and content that we all take for granted whenever we use the internet. You probably wouldn’t be able to read this blog post if it wasn’t for Net Neutrality, nor could you watch Netflix or Youtube without paying a hefty fee. If you haven’t already, join the battle for Net Neutrality here.
What is Net Neutrality?
Net Neutrality basically means that all websites and web services should be equal and anyone can start their own website/service and make it available for everyone using the internet. Without Net Neutrality, internet service providers (ISPs) can pick and choose which sites they can give you access to, and will force you to pay extra to access certain sites and services. They do this by purposely degrading loading speeds of the sites they want you to pay extra for.
This also means that media services can make deals with ISPs for better service. For example, Youtube makes a deal with Verizon. Verizon accepts the deal and makes all non-Youtube content unbearably slow. Because Youtube has little competition this way, no new features will be rolled out.
Why should I care about Net Neutrality?
Chances are, you use the internet on a regular basis if you are reading this post or visiting this site. Imagine paying extra to access social media sites like Facebook, or browse websites such as Reddit. Imagine paying extra to play your favourite video game with friends. Without Net Neutrality, you can easily pay $500 or even more on your internet bills per month just because your ISP wants to charge more for certain sites.
If you are a business owner, or want to start your own company, forget about reaching a large audience for your website. ISPs will make you pay to get your website out to the general public, and even then it might be a select few people that you can share your website to.
If you are a content creator, an artist, a Youtuber, a Twitch streamer, etc., ISPs can charge you more just because you want to upload a video or post your artwork on DeviantArt. Imagine paying more than half of your paycheque to your ISP from content creation just because you want to show off your work.
Think of it as a package deal, like how TV channels are bundled up these days. What’s stopping the ISPs for doing that to the internet?
If you still have trouble imagining what a life without Net Neutrality is like, this little infographic should help you.
What can I do?
Oh hey, you’re still here. There are many ways to help. Post on social media. Tell your friends. Or, if you want to take a more behind the scenes stance, sign your name on www.battleforthenet.com.