I can remember talking about it for weeks in my AP Computer Science class last year. My teacher trying to explain just how big of a deal it was and everyone just brushing it off. The topic is discussed and referenced so frequently, but not everyone knows exactly what it is, including me. Which prompted me to investigate and find out what exactly net neutrality is and how does it affect everyday users in the grand scheme of things.
According to Wikipedia, net neutrality can be defined as "is the principle that internet service providers treat all data on the Internet equally, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication." Essentially, net neutrality is the requirement of all internet service providers to provide the data equally. For example, if you have Netflix open in one tab and you're shopping online in the other, net neutrality requires the provider to stream your television show and load your cart at the same speed, even though you may be more focused or active in your online shopping tab.
Net neutrality prevented companies from valuing their content over another's. This is where the repeal of net neutrality, begins to affect consumers. As more companies such as Verizon or Comcast begin to acquire more online content they have the ability to slowly weed away any content that they do not want you to see. This will directly affect startup companies looking to become the next big social media trend, as it will lessen their online foot traffic immensely.
The repeal of net neutrality can also have an effect on our first amendment rights, of free speech. As larger companies will be able to have more control over what is accessible on the internet and what we are able to see. As all of these changes will not be immediate, they will slowly come into action. Several states such as California, New Jersey, and Connecticut are considering drafting legislation that would keep net neutrality in their states. Washington is currently the only state to sign legislation such as this into law.
While the changes haven't been immediate or obvious they will slowly become more evident as time goes on. Although some may not think that internet speed will affect them its important to think that if big companies will now have the ability to dictate which websites are more important than others, what will they gain control over next?