I wish there was a different phrase that we could use for “Net Neutrality” that would better explain the severity of what it means for all of us. To people that don’t know about it, the phrase sounds relatively benign and very legal, like something a lawyer would worry about, not an ordinary person just going about their day.
The reality is, the issues surrounding Net Neutrality have the ability to completely change how we use the Internet, on our computers, smart phones, anywhere. Here’s the general definition of the phrase:
Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet must treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication. (Source – Wikipedia)
Right now, big cable companies can’t force startups out of business by making their sites run slowly unless they essentially pay a bribe, if Net Neutrality goes away, that’s exactly what will happen. In a world without Net Neutrality, innovation will slow to a crawl since huge companies with big budgets will be the only ones that can afford to pay the prices that cable companies will charge.
Imagine if when services like Uber and Lyft launched they ran so slowly that the whole experience was almost unusable? Go Daddy’s CEO Blake Irving wrote a great article about Net Neutrality that I recommend everyone read if they haven’t yet – in it he says:
“Imagine if your local mall could direct the entire budget of your city’s planning department. Eventually all the roads to and from the mall would be in pristine condition while the roads to Main Street shops would fall into disrepair. When customers can no longer navigate the potholes and overgrown rambles on Main Street, they simply won’t go back and your town mall would hold a monopoly on brick and mortar business. In this metaphor, Net Neutrality keeps the roads department focusing on the entire area, not just the town’s big businesses.”
I urge all of my readers to speak up and push their elected officials to make sure we continue to keep the Internet the free and wonderful place it is today. At the same time, I hope we all realize, this is much bigger than the Internet, because so much innovation happens on the Internet we’re really talking about innovation and progress as a whole.
Thanks for reading and as always, comment and let your voice be heard!