Thursday, May 8, 2014

Net Neutrality

It's been a long time since my last post, life has been busy, school has been difficult financially, and the world keeps on turning as it always will :)

But that's neither here nor there of course, as that only affects my personal life and is pretty meaningless to your life.

But there is a new horror rising up around us all, one that does affect us all, primarily in the USA, but in other countries as well. The issue of net neutrality.

Imagine an internet where you, the consumer, pays for access to this network of websites, services, and entertainment. Your plan's contract says you get an open doorway with the only restriction being that what you do must be legal. This is great, no problem here.

Now imagine on the other side of that doorway thousands of others paying for that same privilege, unrestricted access to the contents within.

Except there's a catch, you can't see each other. In order for the person at the other end to see you, you have to pay another fee. And in order for you to be able to see the person at the other end, they have to pay to be seen as well.

This is the internet without net neutrality. Your ISP can choose who's allowed to be seen, and charge extra fees for the privilege of being seen.

Now, it won't start this way. No, it will start smaller. And it's already happening. Netflix for instance is already being forced to pay extra fees to ComCast for the privilege of sharing their content with you. That's right, they have to pay twice, once for the bandwidth, and a second time for the fast lane on that connection.

Fast lane... what does that really mean here? In this case, it means the highway is too small, so instead of making the lanes bigger, ComCast kicks everyone off of one lane and reserves it for NetFlix only, reducing the number of lanes available for the rest of the internet traffic.

So now you, the consumer, gets great access to NetFlix, but anything else you do is just a tiny bit slower. It's no longer the 20mbit you're paying for gives you 20mbit to anything you want. No, now that 20mbit gets you 20mbit to NetFlix, but maybe 18mbit everywhere else (for example).

This is the real problem with losing net neutrality and why it's so important to not lose it. If we lose net neutrality, then eventually the only things you'll get to see, are the ones who pay for a fast lane.