It was only a couple years back when the internet was flooded with PSAs about Net Neutrality, what is was, and how we could keep it. Now, the fight for Net Neutrality may be back on with the government’s new FCC Commissioner, who apparently is known for being an advocate against Net Neutrality. As of the writing of this article, we don’t know when or if the government and the people will be fighting about this yet again, only two years later, but it’s a good idea to keep informed about it for now.
WHAT IS NET NEUTRALITY?
According to Google, the definition of Net Neutrality is as follows: the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of its source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.
If you don’t quite understand what that means, think of your current cable or sate little television provider. More than likely, your provider offers you different packages. So, you may only get 50 channels with one package, but you’ll get double with a more expensive one. Plus, you can add a channel for so much more money a month if you really want it. Net Neutrality keeps this from happening to the internet.
If Net Neutrality were to vanish, internet providers would have the opportunity (and no doubt take advantage of said opportunity), to block certain websites from you and to give you access with a monetary price.
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS?
There is no real pro for the consumer. Other than perhaps easier blocking of pornographic websites or images in certain cases to keep you and your children safer, all the pros go to the internet providers. They can make more money off of internet and website packages, and can make access to important websites harder or impossible for you to gain access to.
This mean start ups (like FemSTEM over here) will have a very difficult time, if not impossible time, getting their way off the ground using the internet. Which, of course, is a real shame considering how many amazing companies have gotten off the ground and become extremely profitable or world renown by starting on the internet.
This could also mean:
- That it may be harder to find jobs via the internet, which is a huge way for employers and employees to find each other.
- That socializing with your friends via social media will become more restricted as your friends may not be able to afford the same packages you can, or have just chosen other options.
- That doing research for work or schoolwork will cost.
- That email services may be more restricted.
- That education is harder to grab as it’s become so much more accessible thanks to the internet.
Net Neutrality in America has been the only reason the internet has become what it has — a space for people to learn and educate others, and a space for small businesses to grow. When not abused, the internet is great the way it is, and if the government decides to make it something regulated, it could mean a harder time for many people in business and in school.