This is one of the most important things you’ll read in 2014.
Don’t let the term “net neutrality” scare you if you’re not a “geek.” it’s a term that means Verizon or ComCast or (God forbid) Time Warner doesn’t have the legal ability to throttle or expedite the flow of bits over their wires and pipes based on who is paying them for access.
For years, our cable and telecommunication companies have been asking for the ability to charge Netflix or Pandora or YouTube etc a fee to reach their customers (or the ability to offer different tiers of access to these services).
This is not good for the internet, but I have a feeling it’s already too late and 2014 will be the year we lose the open internet. Long live the walled gardens…
So, this is going to be a chaos. All you’re going to hear from now on is that net neutrality proponents want to “regulate the internet,” a conflation so insidious it boggles the mind. Comcast and Time Warner Cable and Verizon are not the internet. We are the internet — the people. It is us who make things like Reddit and Facebook and Twitter vibrant communities of unfiltered conversation. It is us who wield the unaffected market power that picks Google over Bing and Amazon over everything. It’s us who turned Netflix from a DVD-by-mail company into a video giant that uses a third of the US internet’s bandwidth each night. And it is us who can quit stable but boring corporate jobs to start new businesses like The Verge and Vox Media without anyone’s permission.