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Ten years ago, I remember having to wait a few minutes to watch a short video that was in horrible quality, due to the fact that internet was dauntingly slow and expensive. I personally cannot imagine having to suffer through a slow website once again.
The idea of Net Neutrality is that all internet traffic has equal access to bandwidth/speeds. Getting rid of it would be very similar to allowing for highway speed limit signs that gave priority to Nissan cars to drive at 80mph, but any other car has to drive at 30mph since they are not helping the highway. Or conversely, it’d be like FedEx delivering packages to wealthy neighborhoods only because of the better conditions, leaving poor neighborhoods without any shipments since the shipping companies don’t want to go their unless they paid more for their own comfort and profit. On the internet, this could play out with ISPs being able to pick winners and losers by doing something like giving Hulu priority speeds and throttling Netflix, since Comcast owns NBC, which is a partner in Hulu. Or an ISP might speed up news pages that they deem should be heard and slow down others they find repugnant.
Overall, the loss of Net Neutrality could mean the uneven flow of information, which goes against the basic beliefs of the internet being open to all, even partially condemning our freedom of speech and press.
Internet Service Providers (ISP) can structure services in a way that benefits them and makes them the most money. For example, Netflix, a top Movie/TV streaming website used by hundreds of thousands of people could be one of the most affected. ISP companies that have their own video streaming websites could potentially slow down Netflix to make you reconsider and switch to their own fast and reliable streaming site. This would bring more revenue to the ISP since more people are paying for their video streaming site. Furthermore, even if customers decide not to switch, the ISP would still be winning as they could easily charge more money to speed up Netflix. As a result of this, people will be stuck in a tough situation of having to pay more than they should to enjoy their own entertainment and would have to eventually settle with the slightly cheaper option of the ISP’s video site. This shows how uneven and unregulated the internet would be without Net Neutrality keeping all domains running at the same speed. Furthermore, ISP’s will have complete control of the free internet. With no regulations, it would mean that ISP’s would be able to outright block any websites they do not want you to have access to. AT&T, Verizon and Comcast will be able to decide whose voice is heard and whose voice isn’t heard. It would also be potentially hard to find another service to switch to as the ISP would be able to censor any other company that is competing with their prices.
All in all, it would be similar to a censored communist country, except in this case the government isn’t the one deciding what is seen and what isn’t, it’s your own internet service provider. The internet would no longer be a free place, where information flew freely, and all services were treated equally.
Net Neutrality is very important for small businesses that rely on the internet to launch their products, services and advertisements to connect with customers. With the repeal of Net Neutrality, small business will not be able to thrive in a market regulated by big corporations. For example, small tech companies will have a hard time providing quality products and service to customers if they have more bills to pay. Advertising would cost more as advertising companies would have to pay their ISP’s more money for their ad’s to be seen in websites, and that cost would be handed down to the small tech company.
Furthermore, the small tech company would also have to pay more to provide a smoothly functioning website. Companies with more money would be able to do this much easier, but since they’d be paying for bandwidth, they would still be losing lots of money. An example would be Netflix; ISP’s would charge Netflix hundreds of thousands of dollars as their bandwidth use is a lot. Netflix would have no choice but to pay this money for their content to run smoothly. This cost would be handed down to the consumer. The ISP could also decide to charge the consumer in order to watch Netflix. The only one profiting in this scenario would be the ISP as they’d be gaining money from the company and the consumer. As a result, this is why ISP’s are for the repeal of Net Neutrality, as like any business, their main goal is to make as much money and revenue as possible. To continue, businesses would not be the only ones affected. The ones that would be most affected would be Non-Profit Organizations. Some Non-Profit organizations use a lot of bandwidth, such as Wikipedia. Many of these websites are already struggling to stay up, and if ISP’s decide to charge them for their Bandwidth use, then many of them may get shut down. People are already going to have to pay more than they should for internet and donations to Non-profit organizations would probably drop drastically. As a result of this, crucial information and knowledge for people would be lost, due to the greed and desire for money by ISP’s.
Some may argue that big sites who are using lots of bandwidth should pay more, but I disagree as for example, a gym would not charge you more money if you were using all of the machines and given resources all the time. It’s a fixed rate and you get what you pay. Big sites should not be held liable for having daily traffic. Overall, the repeal of Net Neutrality could be considered as one of the worst choices for the internet, since no one but the ISP’s truly benefit from it. Everyone would just have to pay more money than what they should and our freedom of speech and press would be truly reduced.
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