Thursday, November 30, 2017

5 Things That Could Happen If Net Neutrality Goes Away

Here are just 5 things that could happen if net neutrality goes away. 

There’s a lot of information out there right now which educates people on the upcoming possible repeal of the net neutrality rules which were passed in 2015. I’m not going to go into detail here about that but I am going to cover what could happen if the net neutrality rules are repealed...

 1) The internet becomes ‘pay to play’ technology with a many tiered structure. 

With net neutrality, internet traffic is all created equal. Bits travelling over the internet are just bits whether they are in the form of video, music or text. But without NN different bits could be charged different prices. For instance, if you want to watch video content from say YouTube, Hulu or Netflix you could be charged a much higher rate than say just surfing the internet with your smart phone. If you don’t watch any video this might not be a big deal for you but if you do get ready to open up that wallet. The ‘rich kids’ wouldn’t be affected of course, but the rest of us would feel the financial pain. Also, all of the big internet and media companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix would be charged higher access fees because they use up so much bandwidth which, of course, would be passed on to you the consumer.

 2) Data caps. 

This, in all likelihood, will be the first thing that the ISP’s will do, if they haven’t already, and that is to install a data cap plan similar to what the cell companies do now. A low usage data cap might include say 20GB of data per month for a nominal charge but if you want to watch those high def movies from Netflix or Hulu you're gonna shell out the big bucks! That is, of course, unless you subscribe to their own services for an added monthly fee. Even worse would be charging you overage fees by the GB, also just like the cell phone companies do now. You could see on your monthly bill a charge like...Streamed 4K movie from Netflix...used 40 GB’s of data at $5 per GB. That would be a whopping $200 in overage charges!

 3) Geoblocking. 

What is exactly is geoblocking? It’s a short term for blocking content based on your geographic location. Your ISP can block content which is coming from sources outside of your country which of course you would be able to access for an additional charge. Some companies like Netflix for example are already doing this for content that they have paid for and licensed based on what country their content is being streamed in. But what if your ISP decided to withhold otherwise free content in the form of videos or websites originating in other countries? Paying attention yet?... 

4) Blocking of otherwise legal content. 

What if the big ISP’s decided to just block high data usage content from being seen by their subscribers because it just takes up too much bandwidth or it is against their financial interests? As an example, Comcast decides to block all gaming channels from their network which forces YouTube and the gaming channel creators to pay more money if they want to have their content seen. Think it can’t happen? Think again... In 2012, AT&T announced that it would disable the FaceTime video-calling app on its customers’ iPhones unless they subscribed to a more expensive text-and-voice plan. AT&T had one goal in mind: separating customers from more of their money by blocking alternatives to AT&T’s own products.

5) Discrimination against news sites with alternate views. 

What if, in the last presidential election, Spectrum decided to back Donald Trump and Comcast to back Hillary Clinton? Spectrum could feed the video content of pro Donald Trump new sites at a much faster speed than the ones backing Hillary. They wouldn’t have to completely block the sites, just make it a more pleasant experience to view the content on the pro Trump sites. Worried yet? You should be. If you want to join the fight let your congressman know before it’s too late. I’ll leave a couple links in the comments below. Also a link to more information on violations that have already been committed by the major ISP's.

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