The Internet may look very different in the coming future.
Net neutrality is what we've come to know and love about the Internet, and many people might not have even realized it. Thanks to net neutrality, we've been able to surf the net, from Netflix, Facebook, endless Tumblr accounts, to research sites, without thinking twice. Just type in the URL and go. Without net neutrality regulations, which the FCC set up for service providers to abide by, things will look very different. Earlier this week, an appeals court in Washington said that Internet providers don't have to follow these orders anymore, which allows companies to charge bundle rates for websites and completely change the face of the Internet. So far, Internet companies have had to treat all websites and users equally. Think of the Internet we're used to as going from a highway with big lanes, with tons of cars speeding through, getting occasionally backed up. With net neutrality rules tossed out, these companies can slow down sites when they want, charge more for fast access to other sites, and completely block you from going to other sites, altogether. That highway becomes a toll road, with only customers who pay more getting the faster access.
This graphic, set up by Reddit user quink in 2009 when net neutrality started to come under attack by companies, shows what cable companies are now allowed to legally do.
Looks a little like your cable packages, right? It's supposed to, since many Internet service providers are also cable companies, and may likely try to profit off of the Internet as they do with cable bundles. Unless the FCC is able to appeal and get ISPs under their control again, this is what the coming future might look like; a future where you'd have to choose to pay for reliable access to news sites, or pay for quick access to social media. The chart wasn't made by a cable company, so things may look different in terms of pricing and sites, but it might not be far off.