Today, Net Neutrality rules were repealed by the F.C.C. But what does that entail?
Net neutrality is the existence of free internet, meaning no one broadband server can block your access to websites or restrict quality of material being viewed on the Internet (removable only by paying). As of today, broadband servers can block access to websites, restrict content, and require payment to reverse these things. Furthermore, the government will not maintain high-speed internet any longer. In existence will be two internet lanes, one slow and one fast; large companies and wealthy individuals will have access to the latter, whereas everyone else, who cannot afford the fast lane, will have the slow one. The argument for the repeal of Net Neutrality rules on part of those officials in favor is that it will create an environment of competition and incentive to form networks on part of broadband providers (as said by Ajit Pai, commissioner of the F.C.C.).
What does this mean for Americans?
The internet is arguably the most vital resource in today's Western world. There are approximately 290 million Americans who utilize the Internet, and that is as of 2016, so in all likelihood, that number has increased, given that there is a linear growth pattern associated with internet usage. These Americans range from the most poor to the 1%, and every one of those people use the Internet for the exact same thing: to obtain information. Information regarding employment opportunities, education resources, health, and so much more. If the Internet is only available through payment, and certain providers cannot pay to keep their content up, what happens?
Access to the resources that have been readily available for years will be cut off in many ways. Ability to find employment will decrease, education will suffer, thus America's economy will, too. For small businesses, startup companies, and smaller online marketers, the end of Net Neutrality is a virtual death sentence. The economy of the Internet will look vastly different, in all likelihood, it will take a turn for the worst.
For oppressed peoples, discriminated against communities, life will become much harder. Large companies who hold certain political and social views will be able to essentially destroy online communities in which marginalized people (People of Color, LGBTQ+ people, Muslims, Jews, women) organize.
Below is a letter I wrote to Ted Cruz, my designated Senator, if you want to get an idea of online activism done to save the Internet.
New York Times article by Cecilia Kang
New York Times article by Steve Lohr
Statistic on Internet users
Rolling Stone Article by Andrew Leonard
Article presented by FreePress