Ever heard of the term “net neutrality” being used in conversations about the internet? Ever wondered why it would ever be important to know or to stand for?
Maybe YOU did know. Maybe you are someone who is totally aware about recent events in company mergers and have basic knowledge of communication technologies and their significance in terms of equality.
I didn’t always know. I found out in 2014, when concerns over the power of Internet service providers to control access to online content started popping up on online news pages and social media. Facebook a Twitter had become a place for heated online platforms for social debate over the Comcast/Time Warner merger.
Let me back up, and start by explaining the term “Net neutrality,” the the idea that all processes (traffic) on the Internet must be treated equally. Comcast wanted to buy Time Warner Cable for a whopping sum of $45.2 billion, making it into monopolized broadcast/cable entity that would essentially provide services to 30 million subscribers. Moreover, the thing that would have change the most is the “net neutrality” that exists on the internet. In the article Cnet called “How Net neutrality helped kill the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger” it discussed reason the deal never got signed.
Why is this important to the issues I normally discuss on my blog? Well, i believe that if this merger actually happened, the way in which we watched television would have changed drastically. The idea now, even with premium cable providers such as Showtime and HBO, is that most families can afford internet and can watch these shows by streaming them online if they only had basic cable at home for example. The merger also would have created two separate internet speeds. This in turn could have created even more economic divide between classes in America. The idea that you can buy faster access to online databases and social platforms would bring a bigger divide. The notion that your broadband provider who controls your online access, can block or slow down the service at anytime while you are using the web.
Fortunately, social media helped bring awareness to the potential merger nightmare, and they had to pull the plug on the deal citing “opposition from regulators.” John Oliver on Last Week Tonight is also greatly responsible. The comedian/ show host brought insane amount of awareness to this merger and encouraged his viewers know how they can voice their disapproval to the FCC. By going on www.fcc.gov/comments, this actually caused the government page to crash for the first time in history the following day.
Here is the segment of John Oliver: