The discussion of Net Neutrality has been making its rounds across the internet, with sites like Reddit promoting ways to save Net Neutrality on all its Subreddits.
But why is Net Neutrality important, and what does it mean for you? Currently, there are no limitations to how we access content on the internet. You pay a monthly fee to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and tasks such as checking your email or watching online videos do not come with any extra charges (unless you choose to pay for extra features).
Without Net Neutrality, your Internet bill could look like this. In Portugal, websites and apps are grouped into different packages, with users having to pay extra fees for each package. Think of Cable TV packages in the United States. You pay for your basic channels and if you decide you want more content, there would be an additional fee for more channels. That could be the future of accessing websites and content on the Internet, a here's just a few potential scenarios of a post-Net Neutrality era. For gamers, ending Net Neutrality could give ISPs a way to make online gaming a bigger headache than falling victim to Akuma's Shun Goku Satsu.
Prior to the launch of Star Wars: Battlefront II, EA decided to temporarily remove microtransactions from the game, stating their concern of "potentially giving players unfair advantages". Without Net Neutrality, we could see ISPs handing out their own unfair advantages.
Imagine that an ISP makes a deal with Microsoft and decides to charge users an extra $5.00 per month to use Xbox Live. However, that ISP doesn’t have any deal in place with Sony and decides to charge PlayStation users an extra $20.00 per month to use PSN. This could potentially give PlayStation users a reason to switch consoles and take away from Sony's business.
Streaming service popularity could also change under a post-Net Neutrality era. Netflix offers a variety of anime to watch, but some may prefer Crunchyroll. Without Net Neutrality, we could see ISPs bundling Netflix with a "Basic Internet" package, while choosing to charge an additional fee for access to Crunchyroll. Like reading comics? Maybe you use a service such as Marvel Unlimited, where users pay a monthly fee to access Marvel's online comic catalogue. Expect to pay an additional fee for that service, especially if an ISP decides to bundle a service like Amazon's online bookstore into a "Basic Internet" package.
So what can you to protect Net Neutrality? BattleForTheNet.com offers a variety of ways you can support Net Neutrality and reach out to Congress. Emails, phone calls, and even Tweets to FCC Representatives are all great ways to help make a difference.
Still not sure on where to start? Share this article to spread awareness, and join the conversation!