Why our Internet Might Die as We Know It, and How We Can Prevent It.

Written by: Victor Jeong, Editor-in-Chief

Illustration by Cynthia Lee, Design Editor

It’s official; the hornet’s nest that is the internet has been stirred up. Dusting off their pitchforks and rekindling their torches, the denizens of the internet are coming together in what could firmly be described as a battle for the very freedom of internet users everywhere.

Net neutrality is a term that was forged during the birth of the internet that ensured Internet Service Providers (ISPs) could not meddle with the freedom of speech and content in the internet; an invisible barrier guarding the internet from the greedy, ghastly and grandiose hands of the large companies.

Up until recently, things were calm and normal for the internet community, as it blossomed into a place for freeform thinking and creative expression. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States is pushing to give power to the ISPs so that they can create internet fast lanes, controlling the speed to certain websites and offering packages to make them faster. Those packages of course are exclusive to those who pay more. Additionally, companies such as Facebook, YouTube and Netflix will have to pay the ISPs for their users to get a better connection to their websites. Who would have thought that the companies would be looking for even more money than they already had?

Not only is this a particularly sour situation for the users of the internet considering people will have to pay more for things which should normally be free, but competition on the internet will be stymied. Companies who can’t afford to shell out the big bucks will be bombarded with bogus internet speeds, which is a situation where nobody comes out happy except for the service providers who would probably be too busy counting their new cash to realize it.

But the polarizing community that is the internet is often good at one thing, coming together when the interest is common and the threat is universal. Rising up with a motto not too different from “over my cold dead body,” a plethora of various petitions and disgruntled e-mails have popped up all across the internet. After all, what good would their normal bickering do if they can’t even get to the places they normally interact without an extra fee slapped to it?

The internet community has always been a community that people have tried to look at from the outside looking in. The internet community has been looked down upon and challenged morally as well. The internet community however, has been proven to make differences and spur change at the necessary times. The greatest part of it? We’re mostly apart of the big roof of the internet. Individual voices may not pierce the money-making mindset of the large service providers, but they’re facing a chorus on the scale of millions.

It’s painfully obvious that you won’t benefit from a change like this unless you’re a big shot at something that starts with “in” and ends with “ternet service provider.” So that raises the obvious question, how can you help stop this? With the surprising reaction from the internet, entire websites have been constructed to inform people on how they can contribute to ending the predicament. One way to chip in is to visit the official FCC and leave a comment for them. Whether you rebuke them or offer fair arguments, just getting your voice out there helps. The second way is to spread the word. The end of net neutrality would detriment most people in the world. By spreading the word, the chorus will grow stronger, hopefully until the FCC can’t plug their ears anymore.

The internet has made it clear that they’re not going down without getting their word in. We can be a part of that too. We can make a difference together. We can save net neutrality. Get the word out there, find your pitchfork and light your torches. It’s time to stand up.

Link to FCC comment submission page: http://act.freepress.net/sign/internet_fcc_nprm_oliver?source=takeaction

Other ways to help: http://www.savetheinternet.com/what-can-i-do