Ever since the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) headed by their chairman and former Verizon employee, Ajit Pai, repealed net neutrality rules in the country, there has been much uproar on the freedom of the Internet.
So much so that even celebrities have been coming forth to protest and call for action against the new net neutrality regulations.
EVERYONE should care about this! It benefits no one unless you’re a faceless, mega corporation. NOBODY is asking for it. https://t.co/d2fBjPe7mX
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) 14 December 2017
— Cole M. Sprouse (@colesprouse) 14 December 2017
— Calum Hood (@Calum5SOS) 14 December 2017
I feel equally as baffled today, as I’m reading that Net Neutrality is being repealed, as I was when Trump got elected President. I just absolutely can’t imagine anyone voting for that…… then I realize, I am living in a bubble of like-minded, progressive-thinking people 😔
— Zedd (@Zedd) 14 December 2017
— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) 14 December 2017
What we have come to know by this move from the FCC is that @AjitPaiFCC is a rogue player. He has acted against the will of a major majority of the American people, left, right and center. He has financial conflicts of interest. He has flouted due process. He’s lost credibility. https://t.co/LgpBLBr9Yy
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) 14 December 2017
— Chance The Rapper (@ChanceFrom79th) 14 December 2017
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) 14 December 2017
If you are wondering what is net neutrality and what an absence of it could mean for you as a Netizen of the future, let us at BolehVPN explain it for you.
Net neutrality is the practice that the Internet should be fair game and equally accessible to anyone. In the US, net neutrality rules were imposed in 2015 because then-president Barack Obama was a firm supporter of this notion.
Net neutrality for you means that you can access any content on the Internet at equal, ‘neutral’ speeds and without additional charges.
With a rolling back of net neutrality, this means that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Verizon and Comcast would have the power to ultimately control what you see on the Internet.
Services such as Youtube, BitTorrent and Netflix are known for being really big sources of network traffic. As such, ISPs can decide to charge higher costs to these companies, or cause slower speeds (more buffering) and lower quality videos on Youtube if the company refused to comply to these additional charges.
From a Netizen’s standpoint, if these companies comply, these extra costs could be passed on to you in your subscription fees. Alternatively, ISPs could explicitly target Netizens by demanding further payment for those certain services like Youtube and Netflix.
If ISPs are charging extra to companies who wish to load their content faster, only large corporations may be able to afford such prices to dominate Internet “fast lanes”. Competition is healthy for us as consumers. It helps keep prices competitive between businesses. When only the large corporations are monopolising the market, smaller budding start-ups would face a definite struggle to expand their content out there, hampering the growth of new businesses.
Companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime are international services. If they are being forced to pay hefty fees to be in the good books of ISPs, these costs could trickle down in the subscriptions of their streaming services, even beyond the US as well.
The move to repeal US net neutrality is largely seen as a way for ISPs to sniff out extra profit from large corporations willing to pay to stay out of the slow lane. And while its impact on other countries may not be immediately apparent, another underlying issue might be at bay.
US plays a position as a geopolitical leader. Which means they could set a dangerous precedent to other countries looking to climb on-board the same business model.
Yes and no.
Essentially, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) helps to protect your Internet surfing so that your ISP or any watchdogs/third parties cannot see what sites you are visiting when your traffic is routed via VPN servers to be encrypted.
If your ISP cannot see what sites you are visiting, they will not be able to discriminate your traffic and throttle you. Your ISP will only be able to see that you are connected to a VPN server.
However, one danger is that your ISP could start throttling VPN traffic altogether. ISPs are currently not doing this yet, and it would however present its own set of corporate challenges. As many businesses rely on private company VPNs for their employees to access the company’s own network, applications and other corporate LAN (local area network) resources, in this moment it is still unlikely for ISPs to ban all VPNs.
There is no telling what the future of the Internet holds. However, we’ll just leave this video here for you guys of Ajit Pai, FCC’s chairman, explaining net neutrality, complete with fidget spinners and makeshift lightsabers. Enjoy!