By Julian Whigham Syracuse, N.Y. – Network Neutrality may be on its way out in the United States as soon as next week. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to vote on Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to end open internet connections and if all goes to Pai’s plan, internet providers will be enabled to speed up access to websites that are willing to pay.
Per Business Insider, network neutrality is the concept that all internet traffic should be treated equally, no matter what internet service provider (ISP) is carrying it.
In order to visualize the United States in a post-net neutrality world, it may be best to take a look at how some ISP’s operate in other countries.
In China, ISP’s have a list of sites that are blocked and banned by the government and some search words and terms are flagged—type them into google and you may lose internet access for up to 90 seconds.
Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California stated on Twitter:
“In Portugal, with no net neutrality internet providers are starting to split the net into packages. A huge advantage for entrenched companies, but it totally ices out startups trying to get in front of people which stifles innovation. This is what’s at stake, and that’s why we have to save net neutrality.”
In the era of social media, free speech rights and the first amendment are constantly evolving in their implementation and evolution. The fear now is that large ISP corporations will inhibit online speech and disrupt access to competitors.
The Net Neutrality vote will take place Thursday, December 14th.