On February 14, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission will meet to decide on the future of “net neutrality”, the principle that all internet content should be equally accessible to all net users. Heading the meeting will be Republican Ajit Pai, who plans to get rid of net neutrality entirely. It seems to the common man that net neutrality serves only to benefit the experience of internet browsers, a belief that is reflected by the vast majority of people who promote the concept. This is in fact correct, as an internet without net neutrality would be nothing like the internet that is used today.
Many may not have heard the term net neutrality until the concept appeared in the news over the past few weeks. However, net neutrality has been a part of the lives of internet users for as long as one can remember. The idea is what keeps the internet free for the world. Without net neutrality, internet providers could choose to speed up some website and increase loading time on others. Features such as flash, high quality video streaming, and even the ability to visit different types of websites could come at a premium. Currently, internet users are able to browse nearly any website available to the public without a charge. Without net neutrality, simply visiting the East Chapel Hill website or checking the weather could cost internet visitors. Watching Netflix, or any website which requires a significant amount of internet speed could be quite expensive for binge-watchers. To put it in perspective, all of the websites that are typically taken for granted could become very costly over time for consumers.
Skeptics believe that net neutrality must go, because some websites bring in hundreds of thousands of visitors per day while others are visited by just a handful. Net neutrality cynics believe that this imbalance of usage should be reflected by the cost of visiting such popular websites. Any sort of justification for this absurd claim is nothing short of preposterous. Surely those who claim that net neutrality is detrimental to our online age visit many websites per day, and these people must consider a life in which they would have to pay for such websites.
Whatever the FCC decides next February with regards to the future of net neutrality, it would be a massive blow to the convenience of internet usage as we know it.