Net Neutrality is a concept for having a nondiscriminatory flow of internet traffic for everybody no matter the location or internet provider. It allows to stream, upload, download, view websites and add to cart without favorability from broadband providers.
How does today’s net neutrality effect you?
Example: HBO Max’s West World. You want to stream it. Now let’s think about your internet service provider, let’s say Comcast. You pay a lot to get the top internet speed available.
Yes, now let’s watch it!
Pause! There’s lag. Let’s restart. There’s still a little bit of lag and now the picture quality isn’t great. What’s going on?
Let’s switch it up. Instead of Comcast, your internet provider is AT&T Universe. You pay a lot for the best internet speed available.
Pause! Forgot the popcorn. Let’s restart. Great show…!
You are no long reaping the benefits of net neutrality, specifically under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.
Since HBO Max is owned by AT&T, customers with At&T Universe as their internet service provider will receive better quality and faster streaming than Comcast customers because they simple want to push their products. This is the simplest way I can explain the effects of net neutrality.
I’m linking John Oliver’s videos on net neutrality to explain how this effects us as consumers, but I went down a net neutrality rabbit hole so we’re going to continue.
The loss of net neutrality is going to effect all of us in the future when attempting to access information. This is a major concern because in media literacy, the United States ranks 15th among 44 countries in media literacy.
Media literacy is an effective way to “access, analyze, evaluate, create and act using all forms of communication” as defined by NAMLE. Without it, we won’t have the ability to obtain media information objectively.
The mixture of the now almost extinct net neutrality among the 15th ranked country in media literacy means we’re going to have a lot of misinformation and/or the rise of manipulation.
For example, hypothetically if a broadband company like Verizon, who is against net neutrality regulations, wanted to ease their customers about the lost of free fair internet they would inform them through videos, ads and news articles all stating that they will not change anything because of the 2017 vote against net neutrality. But let’s say The LA Times or Vox News were to aggressively speak out against them. Verizon could hypothetically throttle or block those websites from their Verizon customers.
The United States needs two major things. First bringing net neutrality back and the second to make media literacy courses accessible to everyone who uses the internet.