The past couple of weeks have been pretty centered around the whole Net Neutrality debacle. It was a given that the FCC under Ajit Pai was going to repeal it, but what is going to happen next has been less clear. There’s a lot of alarmist stuff passing through my feed, but quite honestly, this won’t be a clear case of suddenly all of the Internet costs you extra. Here’s what is more likely to happen, in fact some of it has been happening for the past couple of months in anticipation of the repeal.
You’re going to start seeing more service offerings from your cable and cell phone providers. I know that sounds like the exact opposite of what you’ve been reading, but hear me out. These services will duplicate familiar 3rd party offerings, such as Netflix or Dropbox. But unlike those services, these ones won’t count towards your bandwidth cap or be throttled for “network reliability” reasons. Of course, there will be a bit of a fee for that, but not much more or less than what you’re already paying for those other services, so why not bundle it all in? If you’re on Charter or AT&T, you might have already been getting calls/emails/texts offering you the option to try their new alternatives.
Previously free services will be phased out in favor of paid options. Sure you’ve been using apps like Verizon’s Cloud to back up your photos and contacts for the past several years but now they’re getting rid of that in favor of a new, better option. Yeah it costs a bit more per month, but you can store more and it’s integrated right into your phone. Plus it won’t count against your data cap, unlike when you use apps like Dropbox or Good Drive. And because it is a Verizon service, you’ll never have to worry about connectivity issues and network slow down like when dealing with those 3rd party options.(Not that you had to before, unless of course they’re being deliberately throttled, right?)
The loss of Net Neutrality won’t result in a huge wave of blatant abuse, it will be more subtle than that, I promise you. For every deliberate act of abuse there will be ten more that won’t be obvious at all. And behind it all will be a bunch of paid shills – Congressman, radio hosts and network talking heads telling you that everything is fine. And behind them will be a bunch people you know – your teachers, your friends and family, pastors and local leaders who repeat these things as truth, never questioning their veracity. Everything is fine.
Everything is fine, indeed…