Net Neutrality Repeal Is Important, So Listen

Many people have been hearing the latest buzz words like “net neutrality”, “fast lanes”, and “free internet”. While many are hearing scare tactics like “they will start charging you for free podcasts” or some Orwellian version of corporate sponsored internet, we want to take a moment to give you a more reality based view of it. Without the scare tactics. That is not to say you should not be worried about the repeal of the current net neutrality rules, you should. However, it is not the end of the world scenario. At least, not yet.

The current net neutrality rules are not perfect, but they do not give special treatment to certain sites versus others. The more simplified version of what would happen if they repealed the current net neutrality rules, it means whoever pays more gets ease of access. Meaning companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Netflix and the like would have to pay money to the internet providers to have the fastest speed and are able to stream 4K content.

Now, some of you are probably thinking, who cares? They have a bunch of my money, they can afford it. However, smaller companies trying to offer new services, with better price, would be locked out because they cannot afford the demands companies like AT&T, Verizon, or Comcast require. Wired explained the concept beautifully. Not using the scare tactic approach, but still putting enough fear in you to take notice.

“When AT&T customers access its DirecTV Now video-streaming service, the data doesn’t count against their plan’s data limits,” Frank Auguliard wrote for Wired. “Verizon, likewise, exempts its Go90 service from its customers’ data plans. T-Mobile allows multiple video and music streaming services to bypass its data limits, essentially allowing it to pick winners and losers in those categories.”

“Consumers will likely see more arrangements like these, granting or blocking access to specific content, if the Federal Communications Commission next month repeals Obama-era net neutrality rules that ban broadband providers from discriminating against lawful content providers.”

Some may consider it not a bad thing if Netflix is not counted against your data cap if you have Comcast. Although, you watch just as much of Crackle, but they are not willing to pay. So that will count against your cap and they will be able to slow down those speeds. It would be similar to trying to watch an Apple trailer for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace on your old dial-up modem.

“Net neutrality is incredibly important for small startups like Discord because all internet traffic needs to be treated as equal for us all to have access to the same resources as the big companies,” says Jason Citron, co-founder and CEO of the videogame-centric chat and video-conferencing app Discord. Now, if you are using Discord, they compete with Skype, Hangouts, and WhatsApp. This would seem likely that they would be able to pay the asked price but someone like Discord may not be able to.

Some Don’t Get It

Unfortunately, you have people who simply don’t know how the internet works.

By changing the rules at this point puts President Trump in the driver’s seat. Allowing companies, a huge pass to run the internet as they want. The net neutrality rules were designed to level the playing field and spark competition. Simply go back in time and think about it. MySpace was owned by Fox Corp when Facebook began. If the same situation happened then, Facebook would not have had the cash flow to pay what the internet providers would be asking for. Neither would Netflix. Think of Twitter. Mark Cuban has no idea how this situation works. Pressure needs to be applied to our representatives. Even if the rules change, all is not lost.

“The good news is the internet won’t change overnight, if it all,” Wired noted. “Blake Reid, a clinical professor at Colorado Law, says the big broadband providers will wait to see how the inevitable legal challenges to the new FCC order shakeout. They’ll probably keep an eye on 2018 and even 2020 elections as well. The courts could shoot down the FCC’s order, or, given enough public pressure, Congress even could pass new net neutrality laws.”