If you care about your Netflix subscription, keep reading.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is your friend—they are responsible for protecting your access to the Internet, your online paper research, your streamed episodes of the Office, your favorite local blog.
Previously, the FCC has ruled to prevent Internet service providers (ISPs) from limiting and restricting access to online content—these rulings keep information open and equally accessible.
Recently, however, a federal appeals court has struck down such rules—a decision that jeopardizes our access to a web of open information we utilize daily.
That isn’t good.
Without the FCC ruling, known commonly as net neutrality, ISPs like Comcast can essentially decide to impose tolls on certain popular high-bandwidth sites such as Netflix, or auction off priority access to the highest bidder. Without net neutrality, website content can be blocked and censored, small online start-ups can be left out in the cold, and the entrepreneur can drown in an ocean of big business competitors as everyone rapidly lunges forward to be the piece of Internet that catches the wave.
It won’t matter that half of your class articles are online, you might still have to pay for them. It won’t matter that you have a favorite blogger, you might lose access to their content. It won’t matter that knowledge should be free, because it won’t be.
Losing net neutrality will make it more difficult to be educated and interactive citizens in a forever globalizing economy, society and culture. When we lose access to knowledge via the Internet, we lose the most essential tool of our generation. We lose what is arguably the most essential tool of the future.