The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will take a vote next month on removing net neutrality. That vote will either keep or nix every rule put in place in the Open Internet Order, which passed in 2015 after President Obama proposed that internet service providers would no longer be allowed to block or ration content.
So what does this mean for those of us who avidly stream content on platforms like Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix? And what does it mean for those of us who can’t, or don’t want to, pay for cable?
Well, it’s not great.
Simply put, corporate owners of streaming services would have the option to block content, slow down video streaming, and provide “fast lanes” for “preferred partners” (or customers who can afford a faster service experience). These decisions rest in the hands of broadband providers, like AT&T and Verizon, which would be able to choose the winners and losers of their own service. Not only is that messed up, but it leaves customers unsure of what they’ll actually be paying for.
A reason why streaming became so popular is because the monthly fee is less complex than that of cable providers. It’s the appeal of getting original content, full seasons of TV, and all the movies one could want for a single, simple fee. If net neutrality dies, these internet streaming platforms would act more like cable providers with different packages for different prices, which limits the amount of content available at people’s fingertips.
If the end of net neutrality means anything, it’s that the information era is about to be completely limited. These broadband providers would have the capability to control what we see and how we see it based on each consumer’s ability or inability to pay increasing fees.
So what does that mean for those of us who only stream movies? It means that we straight-up might not be able to do that anymore — unless we pay the extra fee.