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Net Neutrality And The Global Implications Of A Tiered Internet

Internet

Possible FCC rule changes could reshape the internet forever and destroy how it has been used for the last 30 years.

The internet is the stomping ground for the modern person in which people from all over the world can connect with one another. Created in the 80s, the internet quickly became a way for people and businesses to rise and shine. Recently, the FCC has initiated possible rule changes with how ISPs can be allowed to charge content providers for a faster conduit to its consumers. This means a multiple tiered internet or different levels of service provided. What this would do is virtually destroy how the internet works and kill net neutrality.

As it stands now, the internet is open to all people with access to the network. Anyone with a connection can tap into their favourite website or social media account and do as they wish. But telecom companies such as Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, and Cox are beginning to throttle bandwidth speeds. What this does is intentionally slow your internet connection to certain websites. There has already been a public battle between Netflix and Verizon over this issue. Verizon claims that Netflix is using massive amounts of bandwidth for their streaming services and that its congesting their network lines. Verizon is one of the first major companies to openly state that they are doing this and they even fought to get Netflix to pay THEM a fee to use their lanes. While it is true that Netflix does use a large portion of the bandwidth, it’s generally understood and accepted that the ISPs are responsible for building and maintaining the infrastructure. Check out this video that seems to show evidence of this.

What is already being discussed by major social media and ISPs is providing internet fast lines to specific websites. Basically you would pay lets say £18-30 more a month for a “premium” subscription to Facebook or Twitter. They say you would get their highest connection speeds and possibly exclusive features if you get this service. While this may sound like a good idea for light internet users or people only willing to pay small fees for service, it is essentially going to slow down the internet for the average user. Its being heavily debated over the internet, news media, and in coffee shops around the world. The general consensus from the people of the internet is that THEY DO NOT WANT THIS.

net-neutrality

Some high-profile corporations and social media platforms are already in support of this tiered internet, such as Facebook.  But there is a wonderful war going on in which others are fighting to stop this radical change. Reddit, Etsy, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Namecheap, Vimeo, and even several porn sites are organizing a protest to raise awareness about this troubling topic. The “Go Slow Day” on the 10th of Sept. will feature websites installing widgets on their sites to show what they think the internet will look like if net neutrality is killed by the FCC. One of the major concerns is that this multiple tiered internet could utterly destroy small and developing businesses. Imagine trying to launch a small online shop but instead of having access to the normal internet, you have to pay fee after fee to use each website to advertise or promote. Innovation could slow or die as well because lets face it, a ton of new inventions or ideas get spread through the internet.

Kickstarter is a major source for some of the latest and greatest gadgets and tools. If this goes down the way ISPs want it, folks would have to pay extra to use that website or any other website they choose. Lets face it, this entire issue is scary because it is forcing unwanted change on the internet and will shake it so much the entire foundation could collapse. Think about it, the internet is a collection of servers and tubes and wires interconnected across the ENTIRE PLANET. What the USA’s FCC decides to do here will change how the world works. This is why this is an international issue, and not just an American one. Unfortunately America does own the internet more or less and short of the rest of the world disconnecting and setting up their own network, there is little that can be done. Of course you lads and lasses in the UK and elsewhere could always write to your MP.

Understand this though, if the major telecom companies in the USA get their way, the internet will never be the same and you can expect to pay per website. Service packages will be large and with so many different options you wont know what to pick. Expect prices to rise dramatically for your internet service as well as extra fees for overages. Never again would you be able to just turn on your laptop and anywhere and connect to Netflix. Im not all doom and gloom, but hopefully this doesnt cause the death of the internet.

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