Net Neutrality. A topic that was only preoccupied with cable operators, telecom lawyers, phone companies, etc. It felt a smaller issue when compared with national security, health, economy, education, and immigration. But gone are those days. With new policies being introduced, Net Neutrality seems to be in unavoidable danger. Telecom companies are playing their best cards to get the ball in their court. And well, why wouldn’t they? If Net Neutrality dies, they will have the power to slow down websites, reduce internet speed for specific apps, and can even block these sites for worse. Considering the facts, we don’t even to have to think how far they can go off with this. It will make them powerful enough to charge us for websites we use on a daily basis. But why am I saying this? That is because telecom companies have shown us in past what they can do without restrictions. They are still trying with all their will to get around Net Neutrality laws. And that explains it all.
Here are some facts depicting what may happen without Net Neutrality.
Without Net Neutrality, companies like MetroPCS, Verizon, and Comcast have all tried to slow down Netflix. Let’s break these facts individually. In 2011, MetroPCS advertised that for its $10 paid plan, users get to preview and trial video content. They can’t watch full content unless they pay $20 more to get full access to the 18 different video streaming websites including Netflix. Verizon and Comcast did the same thing, with the only difference being that they decreased speed for streaming Netflix. Comcast didn’t refuse to give up until Netflix finally paid them to do so. All this was before Net Neutrality crept to save us.
When Skype hit the market, internet providers showed us what they can do if they don’t have any strings on them. Facts like countless companies have blocked Skype just after its release are true. Reason? Skype provided better and cheaper way to make phone calls. And since telecom companies were already selling plans for that, they decided to shut Skype down instead. They couldn’t come up with any way to compete with Skype and well, what to do when you’re left with no options to fight? Right, block the competition.
3. PlusNet Charged For Playing Online Games
Before the United Kingdom introduced Net Neutrality, PlusNet had a strange plan for its users to keep their bandwidth down. The company started charging extra, in case its users wanted to play games online. They had different data plans for their customers, making them choose from standard, premium, and a package even above that. PlusNet didn’t just restrict online gaming, but they also slowed down peer-to-peer programs like BitTorrent badly. So much, that it hardly even worked.
4. Telus Blocked Their Workers Union’s Website
This is such a classic example of how bossy companies will become without net neutrality. In 2005, before Canada got its Net Neutrality laws, the Canadian internet service provider Telus displayed the true act of power misuse. When the workers union of Telus had a strike against the company, they made a website called “Voices For Change”. The company went on to block the website for their customers so that they won’t be able to see what’s happening around. And by blocking it, they blocked another 766 websites which were hosted on the same server. They censored an entire section of the Internet just because they didn’t like it and this is just one of those many unknown facts. Imagine what all they could do now.
5. Google Wallet Blocked By Verizon
When Verizon was struggling to get its online wallet done, Google hit them hard with their own virtual wallet. The product was identical to Verizon’s “Isis”, the online wallet, and this made the company think as to what their next step could be. It didn’t take them too long to finally realize that they couldn’t beat Google, and so they decided to block it from all of their phones. Customers having Verizon phones were not able to even choose the competition. However, there is a high chance that the company would’ve done that to any other app that it felt could be a tight competitor.
6. Redirection of Google Searches
There are two companies who made us feel how the world without Net Neutrality will be. Windstream Communication was trying to bring out their search engine to the market, in an attempt to compete with Google and Yahoo. However, their search engine was awful, so much, that no one will ever choose it willingly. But they didn’t give up and set up a redirect. Any user who typed anything on the Google search box was redirected to Windstream’s search engine. Another company called Paxfire took the bribe from other companies and redirected the searches to the respective company’s website. For example, an “apple” search will take you to Apple.com no matter you actually wanted it or not. Users were, sure, furious about it but they were helpless.