The lead article in today’s New York Times, “FCC, in a Shift, Backs Fast Lanes for Web Traffic,” may represent the beginning of the end for the Internet as we know it. The Internet has always been somewhat of a wild west in terms of content, with anything and everything available online. The new rules would end that by creating privileged access for content providers who pay more. Companies like Amazon or Netflix could charge more for faster speeds for Internet streaming and then pass that price on to the consumer.
The concept of net neutrality has always encompassed the idea of free, unfettered access for all, with all companies treated the same way. This new rule will set up barriers for higher speed transmissions and could change the Internet into the same thing as all other media, albeit an electronic version.
The proposed rules regarding net neutrality go up for public comment on May 15th, and they are already generating a furor online. One hopes they would be soundly rejected to preserve the Internet as it exists today.
All Internet content should be treated the same way to preserve the unique type of freedom available online that you can’t find anywhere else. Most Internet users have come to appreciate the freedom of this media, both for good and poor content. In the end, the user is king and judges what he will watch or prefer.