Hope For The Future

Just a couple of months ago, the FCC was paid into voting against Net Neutrality. This isn’t the first time that the cable companies have tried to bring an end to Net Neutrality, they did the same thing in 2014, leading to a similar amount of backlash. Though I’m frustrated with the FCC’s decision, I think that after reading The Master Switch, I feel like the end of Net Neutrality was inevitable. As Tim Wu states, the Cycle will have caused the information empire of the Internet to become closed over time. Not to say that websites such as battleforthenet.com were/are pointless, and definitely not to say that we shouldn’t keep fighting to keep Net Neutrality(seriously, call your senators and representatives if you haven’t already!), but I believe, that if the Cycle really holds true, it’s an uphill battle, and not one that will be won by the general public, or “Team Internet” as battleforthenet.com calls us.

That being said, even though it’s looking grim for Net Neutrality at the moment, the theory of the Cycle states that it’ll open again sometime in the future. Frankly, I’m more anxious about when the web will start to close – the laws protecting Net Neutrality officially end on April 28th, so I’m curious(and afraid) of what the web will look like then. Should a Congressional Review Act or some other development come along and save Net Neutrality, we might be able to delay the loss of it yet. I’m not on the side of “the death of Net Neutrality is the death of the internet,” but I do believe that we will only have a husk of what we have now once the new rules come into place. I still hope that something changes in the next month, or else we’re going to find out for sure.12-2-17-toon-net-neutrality-awful-idea_orig

Even so, I feel that when Net Neutrality comes to its end(and whether that’s next month or later), something will happen which bypasses it. Right now, we live between oligopolistic ISPs, and due to their anti-competitive nature, they likely aren’t going to use higher bandwidths or more site access as selling points. My hope is that some disruptive innovation, like a new way to connect to the internet or a better ISP, will rescue the net, and restore internet freedom. Though I’m not hopeful for a new ISP, maybe now is the time for Google to focus on Fiber. While I’m not 100% sure if it’s even possible to see a national rollout, and I’m not sure if Google would have all of the consumer’s best interests at heart, I imagine that they could change the mentality of Comcast and Verizon if their internet package didn’t throttle or limit bandwidth. If the theorized post-Net Neutrality internet packages pan out as expected, then offering one following Net Neutrality rules will obviously be a more popular choice(especially if it’s cheaper).

I’m rambling on. My point is, I think that people are worrying too much about the end of Net Neutrality being the end of the internet, and, following Wu’s ideas, that’s just not the case. We’re about to turn a dark corner online, where the internet is not as free and open as it once was, but that doesn’t mean it won’t go back to being free and open again. There’s a lot of things that could happen; I just labeled a few of them. So long as the Internet cares about Net Neutrality(which it certainly does), I’m pretty sure we’ll find a way to get back to it, unless it just so happens to go that way on its own.

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