Written By: Michael LangRegardless of what your political views are, what social issues you’re fighting for, or just what your average day to day looks like, it’s safe to say the existence of net neutrality has an impact on your life. It’s something everyone should care about, but with all the other injustices going around it doesn’t seem like the biggest priority, because it’s not like the internet is going to disappear on us. The reality though is that the fight for net neutrality will probably be our generation’s most important fight because what the internet evolves into if net neutrality is repelled will be a shell of what it once was. If you’ve been living under some virtual rock and have no clue what I’m talking about, let me oversimplify what’s going on.On Feb 2015, the FCC ruled in favor of net neutrality, which reclassified broadband access as a telecommunications service. This essentially protected access to the internet under the Title II Communications Act. In Dec 2017 in a 3 to 2 vote, the FCC repelled net neutrality, thus allowing Internet providers like Comcast and AT to do whatever they like with our internet.  If your eyes just rolled into the back of your head reading that, don’t worry. That seems to be the common feeling when reading about net neutrality. The name itself net neutrality just sounds like a boring thing you don’t want to care about. A better name for it may be net equality because that’s really what it’s about. Ensuring us, the consumers, an equal and fair internet no matter how we utilize it.If this still doesn’t make too much sense to you let’s use America’s new favorite pastime, binge watching.Take your favorite streaming site, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Youtube, or whatever streaming site you accidentally spend hours of your lives watching. Now imagine that streaming site is allowed to control how much server speed each piece of content you watch gets. So, if you’re on Netflix, then all their original content like “Black Mirror” or “Orange is the New Black” will play just fine, but every other show or movie not created by them gets only half the speed their shows would get. In fact, if a show is too much like one of their own they’ll make it even slower so it’s impossible to watch without a buffer interruption no matter how fast your internet is.If we jump over to Youtube we now see a bigger problem. Much like many online businesses where the speed their site loads is vital to their business successes, a new up and coming Youtuber needs their content to stream properly to even begin gaining an audience. If their first episode is constantly buffering or it takes five minutes for it to load enough to be viewed, people will just pass by.Now replace these streaming sites with Internet Providers like Comcast, At & T, and Verizon and hopefully you can start to see what the problem is. Now instead of having the power, your favorite streaming sites are the ones in danger of being killed off by our Internet Providers. Without Net Neutrality, IPs have the option to provide different internet speeds to different sites for any reason they want. This isn’t just something where you’ll see the consumer prices go up, even if you’re paying for the highest package for the fastest internet if Comcast doesn’t have a deal with Google that they’re happy with then Google will be running slower than Yahoo!.If you’re someone running an online business or buys their stuff online know that this can affect how those sites run. Plain and simple without net neutrality IPs become mob bosses that can hold your site up for more money for whatever reason they want.I mean with Disney looking to launch its own streaming site in 2019, don’t be surprised if they pay to slow down other competitor’s internet speeds. Not only is it smart business, but it’d be absolutely legal with net neutrality repelled.I can keep giving examples of how all of this will affect us, but the most important point to make is that giving IPs this kind of power and authority gives them the ability to manipulate our habits and behaviors. To force us into digesting what they want when they want by slowing down sites containing information and knowledge they don’t want us to know. We already have a huge issue with fake news being pushed around social media, but imagine a world where the fake news was the only news. Where all movements and revolutions die because of the wicked buffer wheel of doom. In this day and age of broadband, the idea of waiting a full minute for a site to load is basically giving the site a death kiss.The argument is that without net neutrality is that it leaves the door open for competitiveness within the broadband industry, but the problem there is that the broadband industry is already a monopoly.How many Internet Providers do you currently have to choose from, and how easy is it to work with the said provider? We make jokes every day on how hard to deal with these companies when something goes wrong. We’ve all dealt with the ridiculousness of being asked to wait an entire day for someone to show up to flick a few switches and twist a few wires.But the vote has already passed. What’s done is done and that’s that, right? Not necessarily. A fight is only done when one side submits, and we have yet to have submitted.Thanks to people like Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey and his 30 co-sponsors they’ve been able to push forward with the Congressional Review Act, which bypasses committee review and takes any changes made to net neutrality to go directly to a floor vote. This basically means the fate of net neutrality is in the hands of Congress. This can be a good thing and a bad thing.On the bad side, even though there’s mass support for net neutrality from Democrats, it doesn’t look like we’re seeing the same kind of support from the Republicans. Though the good is that we have some time to change that because that vote isn’t happening anytime soon. This is because the FCC has yet to publish their changes to net neutrality in the Federal Reserve, which is needed to make any changes official.So we have the time. The time to let our congressmen and women know we need with net neutrality. If you need to know who and how to contact your reprehensive you can find their contact information at https://callyourrep.co/With midterm elections coming up this year now is the time to let them know that a vote against net neutrality will be a vote against them come November. If net neutrality does get repelled, then use your voice and your right to vote to put the people that will bring it back in office.Regardless of your party or political opinion, net neutrality is a protection we need to keep what little freedom we still have over our internet. We lose this, we will lose our ability to do our own thing and create our own businesses. The changes may not happen overnight, but slowly yet surely we will lose our ability to connect to one and other and with that, we lose our voices.

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