In a world saturated with politics, we have a tendency to tune out sometimes, at least I know I do. However, if you pay money for the internet (which is basically EVERYONE) you should care about Net Neutrality, and not just because you love streaming old episodes of Gilmore Girls, or regulating your fantasy football roster.

Today the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is scheduled to vote on a plan to overturn Net Neutrality protections. Why? Well, in my blunt opinion, so large already wealthy corporations can make even more money. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

In Marjo terms, Net Neutrality is the idea that the company that provides your internet service, should treat all websites, apps, articles, videos etc, the same, without favoring or blocking access. It also keeps you safe from paying more for certain content, or penalizing you by slowing down your service, regardless of their own agenda.  Simple right?

There's a great article on Marketplace.org, which uses my favorite analogy of all time, PIZZA! You can really turn Pizza into an analogy for anything, for many different reasons, but that's a discussion for another day (hint, hint, coming soon!)

 

“There are a lot of ways to describe net neutrality, but my favorite has its roots with justice [Antonin] Scalia: Pizza delivery. Imagine you are in a town with two pizza places — Domino’s and Papa John’s — and one phone company, AT&T. In a normally functioning free market, if you want to order pizza you are likely to call whichever pizza place that tastes best to you or has the best bang for your buck. But let’s say AT&T and Domino’s cut a special deal where any calls to Domino’s are favored over the calls going to other pizza places. So anyone calling Papa John’s has to wait behind everyone else calling Domino’s. For most people even if you might think Papa John’s tastes better, you know you will get your pizza faster if you choose Domino’s."

Kate Forscey, associate policy counsel at Public Knowledge

When I think about the internet, the first thing I associate with is entertainment, a luxury if you will, but this day in age, it provides billions of people with access to education, healthcare, news, employment, finances, the list goes on and on. So we're not just talking about streaming reruns of Sopranos. If Net Neutrality is appealed, and you want to keep using the internet the way your are now, it's likely you'll have to fork over more money.

In case you need one more reason to appreciate the importance of Net Neutrality that was imposed by the Obama administration, our own State Representative Adam Hinds, shared an article on his Facebook page, citing the devastation a repeal could cause in rural America, including small towns right here in Berkshire and Hampshire County. A benchmark of the Hinds campaign, as well as a passion of his predecessor, Benjamin Downing, bringing high speed internet to rural Western Massachusetts, has been a long waging battle which now hangs in the balance.

To sum up as dramatically as I possibly can, THE FUTURE OF THE INTERNET AS WE KNOW IT is left up to today's FCC vote.