What is Net Neutrality? Net neutrality is, at its core, the concept that every piece of information on the public Internet should be as accessible as any other. More specifically, it means that the access to this information should not be in any way stifled by your Internet service provider (ISP). And this is one of the things that is threatening the way we use the internet in today’s world.
[blockquote author=”Lawrence Lessig”]Just as we are beginning to see the power that free resources produce, changes in the architecture of the Internet–both legal and technical–are sapping the Internet of this power. Fueled by bias in favor of control, pushed by those whose financial interest favor control, our social and political institutions are ratifying changes in the Internet that will reestablish control, in turn, reduce innovation on the Internet and in society generally.[/blockquote]
When we use the internet, we are freely to go to any site and do whatever we want on those sites. Each website has the same availability to speed, storage, and bandwidth on the internet. Now what if only the most successful companies had this right? What if Netflix and Hulu had access to much faster information delivery speeds? You could watch shows via these two companies, but most of the other companies providing similar services, with a smaller income, may not have the same access and may experience very slow delivery rates. This would make the rich richer, and would strip the opportunity for growth, from the smaller companies struggling to provide faster speeds. The big companies would only get bigger, leaving everyone else behind.
But what would the internet look like without it?
1. Rich companies will pay to have their content delivered first
This is one of the points mentioned at the start, and it’s one of the most important. If given the choice to purchase how fast companies can get their information to their customers, then the ones with more money will win out. This would mean that only the companies who can afford to provide quick and efficient services for their customers, will be used. More people will be, in a sense, forced to use these. Without the plethora of choices we have now, the internet would become a desert wasteland with a few soda machines spread out on it.
2. Paying for access to a website might become a thing (http://jointhefastlane.com/)
Gas prices go up, companies are still in need of higher priced gas, and so they charge more for their products and services. The same will go for the internet. If companies have to spend more money in order to compete with the higher delivery speeds, then we inadvertently will have to spend more to access the websites. Gaining access to websites on the internet will be like paying for cable. We will have to purchase a package containing the websites that we want to see, pay a monthly fee, and if we want to see more, then we will have to upgrade or change providers.
3. Innovation will come to a halt
Because only the big companies will continue to get customers, and have sustained success, the smaller start up companies won’t even stand a chance. The people who come up with unique, and creative ideas, and want to share it with everyone, won’t get that chance. These giant companies will slowly smother out innovation and creativity. So much so, that new websites will rarely be made. These new websites will only be updates or branches of the already successful and massive companies that control the net. Without innovation on the internet, where will people start to find their creativity? Will creativity make a general decline as well?
4. Access to scholastic materials may be restricted as well
Websites that offer information in respect to school, would also suffer. But not as much as the student. With most of the information being shared on the web, and having a sudden restriction to what can be seen on the web, will take valuable resources away from students. Organizational tools, online encyclopedias, and online word processors will only be accessible to the rich. Poorer students won’t have any opportunity to get their hands on this resources that could potentially further their knowledge. As a result, they will lose out, only making the privileged, even more so.
Without net neutrality, numerous opportunities will be taken away from everyone. Creativity will decline, students will lose access to valuable information, and we will have to pay for what we can see on the internet. Small companies will lose the chance to flourish, and big companies will only skyrocket in increased profit. Without net neutrality, the poor will become poorer, and the rich will only get richer.