Cue the chaos, cue the calls for Ajit Pai’s head, cue for an online revolution that includes cool little ‘badges’ that writers were posting on their blogs, queue video parodies of Ajit Pai’s less than admirable video (essentially making fun of every American that has ever used the internet… For the record Mr. Pai, I don’t ‘gram my food, or recreate music videos of the Harlem Shake).
In this country, you can cheat citizens out of a lot of things without repercussion. You can cheat them out of fair mobile plans, you can cheat them out of variety in terms of allowing certain TV/entertainment monopolies, you can cheat them with high gas prices, you can cheat them out of healthcare, the list goes on.
Circumstances such as these will gripe a groan, a short-term protest, and a ‘well I’m moving to Canada,’ but in the end, citizens will eventually accept whatever they are being cheated out of, and never actually leave because they know in reality, while America has its’ flaws (as every other nation does), it’s tough to dispute a nation that presents opportunity in the masses, as well as emphasizes equality, and justice for all.
So while such topics, and brash decisions may cause a stir, in the end, people come to terms with it.
Fast forward to late 2017 (or at this point, rewind back), and FCC chairman Ajit Pai figured the very same, when he, and the FCC took lead on revoking net neutrality.
Net neutrality is a law passed by the Obama administration that says all users must be granted equal access to all web content. Meaning, because of this implementation, it was illegal for AT&T wireless/broadband (owners of DirecTV) to provide a slower connection to a subscriber of say, Comcast/Xfinity streaming services to entice the subscriber to switch streaming providers.
The repeal of net neutrality would have also eventually caused price increases, and special package content when using the internet (similar to cable packages in the early 2000s).
Package A provides access to Google, ESPN, AOL, and CNN
Package B provides access to Yahoo, Bing, Fox News, and Fox Sports
Package C provides access to Package A, and social media access
Package D provides access to Package B, and social media access
Streaming services that take up more bandwidth (Netflix, Hulu, Sling, DirecTV Now) are added premiums for an increased rate, such as how HBO, Starz, Showtime, and other movie channels were added premiums with cable.
Essentially, ISPs would become the new cable companies. Think about how scary this could be. ISPs would control lay of the land of the entire web (basically a necessity in today’s society).
Why is this so scary?
ISPs aren’t dumb, they know what content is most valuable in terms of most frequently visited/used content. There would eventually be a point where they would offer those cheap skinny packages, but would only provide social media access with the most expensive package… And that’s game over.
Sure, a few people would go without social media, but most Americans are on social media in some way, shape, or form.
When enough people stopped using social media because of the cost, ISPs would then only include Netflix with the most expensive package. Have your attention yet?
“Well, what if I only wanted access to social media, and/or Netflix?”
That’s a great question hypothetical reader, let me remind you that when you ordered cable packages you usually ordered the more expensive one, correct?
It’s not necessarily because you watched so much television, it’s because cable companies strategically placed the most watched/desired channels in the most expensive packages. So you know how we all complained about how we pay for hundreds of channels, but only watch around ten of them? Yup, same concept.
So back to your question hypothetical reader, when you asked Time Warner, or Comcast if you could only purchase the basics, and then just add ESPN, what did they say?
Oh, you mean they said that wasn’t allowed?
You mean they replied with, ‘Well, to get ESPN you need to upgrade packages (strategically one of the more expensive ones).’
Ladies, and gentlemen, that is how we end up buying these expensive entertainment packages with intention of only using less than half of the content provided, and the repeal of net neutrality would be the same thing.
Repeal In Question
In this case, people did not groan, and concede a few weeks later. States have already been pushing for separate state laws attempting to dispute the FCC’s net neutrality repeal. The United States Senate officially voted to overturn the net neutrality repealment last week, and while a Presidential approval is still needed for this overturn to officially be implemented, it certainly looks that one way or another, free & equal internet access will be available to the public in the foreseeable future.
Mr. Pai may have learned a valuable lesson here, we as Americans are very tolerant of unfavorable decisions, but when it comes to ‘gramming’ our food, taking selfies with puppies, and parodying Harlem Shake videos, you’ve gone too far.