The Fight for a Monopoly of the Internet

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The Fight for a Monopoly of the Internet

Robert Wolf

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Your internet rights are being taken away from you and no one is telling you about it.  In fact some very rich companies are actually trying to hide it from you.

I am referring to the incredibly exciting topic of net neutrality.  It even sounds fun, doesn’t it?  However boring a topic it may seem, it’s important to know.  Net neutrality refers to the freedom of the internet.  More specifically it’s the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.  Here’s a small example.  Say your internet provider is Verizon.  You send a bill to Verizon every month for this and expect to have fast and indefinite internet access.  Now say you get on netflix to binge the entire Stranger Things season for your fourth time this week.  Netflix is a competitor with verizon, but due to net neutrality Verizon cannot alter your service for streaming a competitor’s service through their network.  By this I mean that they can’t make your movie marathon buffer continuously just because they can’t profit off of it.

Why should you care about it if it is already a law?  Well, many of the big internet and cable companies are trying to repeal it including Verizon.  And repealing this act won’t just affect your internet speed.  In fact it can have much larger repercussions.  The internet has been a large source of innovation and freedom and net neutrality protects that.  If it is repealed then service providers can pick and choose which sites they want to succeed.  It could regulate opinion websites that disagree with its own and make it  a huge propaganda superpower.  This may mean that you won’t even be able to watch your favorite TV show or trust that your news is accurate.

Net Neutrality provides a safe haven for a free flow of information and restriction of that flow or giving control of the flow to a select powerful few could end many important things.  Examples include minority activism, small business advertising and media diversity.  It would also lead to greater wealth inequality and worsen people’s ability to correct societal flaws.  We will have to see how the FCC votes on the push to repeal on December 14th of this year.