What is Net Neutrality and Why Is It Important to You?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past year, you probably must have heard news reporters discuss Net Neutrality, social media posts repelling and raising awareness, and political activists worried about the future laws on abolishing Net Neutrality in the US.
However, what’s all the buzz about? Lots of people are talking about it yet you still don’t truly understand why this subject is so important, and if it truly affects everyone’s life, why isn’t it taken seriously?
Net Neutrality is a complex topic that raises dozens of questions, discussions, and opinions from both the people who want to maintain it and those who wish to abolish these laws. If you’d like to learn the basics of Net Neutrality and understand how does it affect you, then keep reading this article for more information on the subject.
Although it’s a complex topic that encompasses regulations, companies, and users, the critical idea of Net Neutrality is that all internet users should have access to all the content on the Internet at the same speed, without blocks, slowdowns, or any sort of extra payments.
As it stands right now you can access any website, regardless of its contents or where in the world it’s hosted, without experiencing slowdowns from your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
If Net Neutrality regulations are removed, then ISPs could charge extra for accessing particular websites, block you from browsing competitor ISPs content, and other similar actions that ISP companies want.
The Consequences of Removing Net Neutrality
The actual consequences are currently unknown, it’s impossible to ascertain what will ISPs do once Net Neutrality regulations are gone, perhaps it all stays the same, but the rights they will have over user data, internet connection, accessibility, and media could get out of hand, and things might go worse.
Since ISPs are going to compete with each other, internet connection plans might go at a higher price than what they currently are, offer reduced content, and slow you down in competitors’ sites.
Platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming sites might have a harder time creating new features since their data could be limited.
However, those in favor of taking down Net Neutrality explain that freeing ISPs from these regulations could improve the current relationship between consumer and company.
Offering better deals based on their user’s preferences, and since they’re competing better and, faster connections might start appearing to entice consumers to switch to the most rapid and highest-quality provider.
Another aspect they often promote is that they could block specific sites without requiring approval from the respective authorities, which might help in locking down illegal sites.
It’s impossible to know if the lack of Net Neutrality will make internet access better or worse.
It could become similar to China’s regulations, where the government and ISPs take down websites that they don’t authorize, track users information, and blocking content. It could just be an increase in internet service costs, or it could actually lead to a better and more secure internet.
Net Neutrality and You
Maintaining Net Neutrality will make things stay as they’ve been the past few years, with everyone being equal concerning internet use and access.
Both sides have advocates that exaggerate the consequences of either outcome, but for the most part, the average user wouldn’t see any benefit whatsoever from Net Neutrality being repealed, the only ones who benefit from that case are large ISP companies.
On the other hand, if neutrality continues, you’ll be able to stay safe knowing the environment will not take a turn for the worse and that your data will stay protected by the authorities.
One of the best ways to make sure your personal data is protected while surfing the web is to use a VPN. Here’s a guide to what VPNs do if you’re not familiar with them.
Right now there’s little left to do for ordinary folks since the decision is in the legislative authorities, but if you keep fighting, making petitions, hoping your voices are heard, and politicians decide to uphold Net Neutrality.
It’s all in the air, but hopefully, even if Net Neutrality changes, the pressure from Internet users who now wish to stay in a world with regulations regarding this subject will find a way to set things right.