On June 11th, 2018, the FCC’s repeal of Obama-era Net Neutrality protections officially took effect. While FCC Chairman Ajit Pai claims Net Neutrality rules were unnecessary and heavy-handed, groups such as the rest of humanity say otherwise. But how will the Net Neutrality repeal effect you, the average Internet user, who is barely clinging on to hope in a sad and desperate world as is? Here’s what you can expect:
Over time, you’ll notice that certain websites will load slower than they used to, as they are now locked behind paid tiers of access as dictated by your Internet Service Provider. As you are waiting for these websites to load, you will begin to notice how much of your limited time on Earth you spend alone in front of a computer. This will get you thinking that people are social animals who crave physical intimacy as much as we do food and water. You will think about the last time you had a face to face conversation with someone – a genuine conversation, one not about some gormless piece of online content, but about your feelings, hopes, and dreams – and it will fill your heart with both joy and dread. If it is daytime, the sun peering through the awful blinds of your overpriced one bedroom apartment will begin to burn brighter, a reminder of the world we shunned in favor of connectivity and innovation. You will feel the weight of your own body, fatter now from years of inactivity. As all your ISP’s pre-roll ads finish loading and begin to blare out of your speakers simultaneously, you will become anxious and impatient. You will think about how your voracious craving for online content is similar to that of any other addict. You will become aware of your gilded cage. Your Amazon Echo will ask you if you would like to purchase higher tier Internet service to help load the website faster. You will accept, grudgingly, because there is no other choice.
Even giant social media platforms like Twitter will not be immune to the loss of Net Neutrality, as ISP’s could easily charge users on even a per-tweet basis. With social media now a scarcity, you will have more moments to sit with your thoughts instead of announcing them to the world, and you will surprise yourself at how egocentric and cruel they are. No longer able to vomit out “takes” and harass celebrities at the speed of light, you will instead be forced to face your Sisyphean student loans and utter lack of retirement fund. A single paradox rattles around in your mind: how can we share the same experiences yet feel so alone? You will feel so crushingly isolated by late-stage capitalism that you will want to listen to a Father John Misty song, but sadly, streaming is locked behind a more expensive access tier. Your Apple Watch will notify you that it can purchase this for you, but Siri needs your verbal confirmation. You say out loud, “yes,” and after several tries, it finally recognizes your voice. You overdraft your checking account to tweet “this new Father John Misty song sucks,” and the likes you get feel like the sweetest poison.
If these things scare you, don’t fret – legislation to save Net Neutrality passed the Senate, and is now in the hands of the House. And that’s unequivocally a good thing, especially if you’re Uber, Air BnB, Postmates, or any of the other Internet companies that everyone universally agrees is terrible. You see, Net Neutrality is crucial in maintaining a free and open Internet, enabling future Internet startups to come into the marketplace and circumvent pesky labor laws and union regulations without oversight or consequence. What, you thought the nightmare was over? The 21st century is all-you-can-eat buffet of garbage and there’s nothing to do but go back up for seconds. So sit back, let your eyes glaze over, and continue to consume!