The Fight for Net Neutrality Laws: Should We Get Involved?


(Property of Netflix)


(Property of Netflix)
(Property of Netflix)

The Internet is a significant tool in our lives. Whether it’s for research or for fun, we are on the Internet pretty much every day. And if we’re being honest, most of the time, we use it to stream videos, particularly from Netflix. Many people use Netflix to stream their favorite movies and TV shows, particularly the shows that only Netflix provides, such as “House Of Cards”. However, lately, Netflix users have been facing the problem of slower buffering and loading when trying to watch a video. This is because on Jan. 14, the net neutrality laws that previously allowed the unbiased delivery of Internet traffic were struck down.

Since the laws are now removed, Internet Service Providers, such as Verizon and Time Warner Cable, can do as they please. There is an even bigger problem here, since in February, Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Comcast announced their plan to merge. This means that TWC will have a say in some of what Comcast does, including what traffic the company carries. And Netflix, who was forced to pay Comcast extra fees so their customers could access their service without problems, might have done so for nothing since TWC might just the slow down the traffic again anyway. The merger also ensures that the merger between TWC and Comcast will control nearly 70 million cable and broadband subscribers in the U.S.—more than any other service provider—a move that has the possibility of creating a monopoly, in which TWC-Comcast can set prices and add and remove services as they wish, according to The Washington Post.

In a world without net neutrality, the customer will likely get charged obscene fees for something they used to enjoy at a reasonable, even affordable, rate. Unless we want to live in a world in which using services like Netflix and Hulu and visiting popular websites like iTunes and Facebook will result in us getting charged through the roof, we need to fight for net neutrality. We need to appeal to the Court of Appeals for the laws to be restored.

Appealing for the laws to be restored would prevent unfair treatment to internet sites, such as Netflix, that have a large amount of traffic over the internet. Also, Netflix would not have to pay fees in order to have their traffic carried. This would get rid of the potential increase in membership pricing those customers for sites such as Netflix would run the risk of charging. This also goes for sites such as Hulu and YouTube: customers will be charged an extra fee, which is likely to be around $5, in order to merely gain access to these sites.

The fight for net neutrality affects all of us. We all pay a price, both literally and figuratively, for the laws being struck down. If we do not fight to have the laws restored, we risk paying numerous fees to get the ability to access sites that we use every day. Unless we wish to have our favorite pastime of watching Netflix taken away due to heinous pricing, we must act as soon as possible. More importantly, we must prevent the TWC-Comcast merger, which is already drawing comparisons to the Bell System, which held near complete control of the telephone industry well into the 20th century, from becoming a full-blown monopoly. So, we must fight for net neutrality or be forced to pay unnecessary fees for the sites we love and use almost every day.