Net Neutrality - What it Means and What You Can Do

 Image by WIni Lao

Image by WIni Lao

I got a few questions about my Instagram post on net neutrality, so I wanted to take the time to post a quick blog post on what this issue is and why it matters. There are tons of articles about this from various tech experts, so if you want more information I'll include a few relevant links throughout. 

So What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is the idea that all web traffic should be treated equally. Basically, an internet service provider can't charge you more to access certain sites or web based services. Because the internet has become an essential part of everyday life, President Obama took steps to have the web treated as a public utility, thus introducing more regulation to protect consumers. Those protections are now at risk. The FCC has a new Trump appointed head that wants to eliminate net neutrality, allowing Internet Service Providers to charge you more to access certain sites. 

How Will This Affect Me?

In so many ways, but here are a few. Do you enjoy using What's App to text, call, and video chat with loved ones abroad? Imagine that capability disappearing overnight, unless you want to pay premium pricing for it. Cancelled your cable since you watch everything on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime? Imagine your internet service provider blocking or slowing all of your streaming, to force you into paying for a cable package. How many hours a day do you spend on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook? Imagine those connections being slowed to a crawl. And think about all the blogs (like this one!!), emerging social platforms, and web based apps you've never heard of that are in the works. Now imagine those never seeing the light of day because the founders can't pay for premium pricing so their websites. If you need a visual example, these photos of service in New Zealand and Portugal pretty much sum up how your internet packages could look. 

What Can I do About It?

Consumers need to band together to make our voices heard! The FCC votes on the measure on 12/14, and there are a few actions you can take to voice your opposition. Call your representative, join a protest in your city, and tell your friends to do the same! A lot of people are unaware of how important this issue is and we need to help spread the word as much as possible and a lot of people are completely unaware. Let's act now and make our voices heard!