Net Neutrality and What It Means For You

February 28, 2014
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If you’ve been watching the news or hitting up your favorite tech sites, you’ve probably heard about this thing called Net Neutrality. What is net neutrality you may ask? Well, defines it as this: ¨the principle (it never was a law) that the pipes carrying our information online should be “dumb” — just like our phone lines. If the pipes are too smart, the ISPs that provide them could discriminate or prioritize some content, websites, apps, or users over others. That means, for example, Comcast could slow down BitTorrent traffic (it did) or Liberty Media could charge Netflix more for using more network capacity (it’s already said it wants to).”

Net Neutrality

This sounds great to me, a perfect world where all Internet traffic is considered the same. The civil rights movement of Internet traffic, if you will. However, back in January, the FCC gutted the net neutrality rules, thereby allowing ISPs to slow down traffic to certain websites, like Netflix! That means it would take forever to catch up on Orange Is The New Black and House of Cards (episode 11, can we talk about that please). You see, sites like Netflix use a lot of bandwidth, bandwidth that you´re paying good money for. We’re not even getting the fastest speeds we can. In fact, in the world, the USA is ranked ninth in average Internet speeds behind Latvia and the Czech Republic. Why is everything so hard? Or should I say slow?

My point is our ISPs act as gatekeepers to the Internet. Now that the US basically doesn’t have any net neutrality rules, our lovely ISPs are free to create a tiered world wide web. What I mean is charging extra to get to certain websites they deem premium (Netflix or all that porn you’re watching). This charge will either be passed on to the website or the customer. We’re actually seeing this happen as I type this. Verizon, I’m looking at you. Comcast just struck a nice deal with Netflix but it seems you’re trying to throttle speeds for your heavy bandwidth users instead of creating a better network.

Maybe the future lies with Google Fiber, a new high speed internet service being launched in a few test cities around the country. Since Google is new to the game and they seems to be laying their own fiber cables, they’ll be perfectly placed to take up the mantle of a neutral net ISP. Google, please don’t do any evil.

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