HeartPlus+ Bonus: Net Neutrality and You.

8bit picture of city and heart with plus for net neutrality
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Hey there everybody. Today I’ll be taking some time off my normal spiel to talk to you about a problem that affects life as you know it — and lots, lots more. And if you couldn’t tell how important the situation is by the italicized lots, this problem is pretty huge. You’ve probably heard it over and over the past few months — even years since the bill that practically blew up the internet — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Now, re-imagine that bill. But instead of censorship, you have to pay for what your internet service providers choose to censor, and then some. Strap in and join me in today’s bonus post, where I walk you through the minefield that is known as truly free, and uncensored interwebs. 

Question for Net Neutrality
Questions. Questions everywhere.

To begin, I have two questions for you. Remember that time in your life in which you first laid your eyes upon the internet? That first Youtube video that you’d ever seen, like when Nigahiga first grew to popularity with his old “How to Be…” videos, or maybe something completely random like urban freerunning in a video called “Urban Ninja”? Because that’s where I started. Now, for the second question. Can you imagine a life without internet anymore? I mean, you’re using it right now to view this post, right? Imagine how many emails you have to check, how many posts you have yet to read on Facebook, pictures to like on Instagram, snaps to send through Snapchat, games to play on Steam. Subtracting those who can’t quite use the internet to it’s fullest potential in places where it’s hard to obtain, can you even imagine how life would be if you couldn’t play lazy with your homework and find something on Yahoo answers? Well, that’s mainly a joke.

 

The very first YouTube video I ever watched.

Remember when I asked you two questions? I’m about to ask you one more. And I really want you to try to find the answers to this one. Are you ready? Can you name at least five major internet service providers (ISPs)? I’ll let you take your time on that one — and don’t use Google. Chances are, you’ve probably thought of these four. Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and maybe Time Warner Cable and Cox. But did you know AOL provides internet too? And this is where the problem lies. So, we’re at the third paragraph and you’re probably dying to know by now – Just what is Net Neutrality?

 

Here’s a quick rundown of the whole entire thing, made by TotalBiscut.

Net Neutrality is the principle that ISPs should treat data on the internet equally, and not charge differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication. I mean, that sounds pretty simple, right? Well, no. Not really. So what does this mean for us? It means that ISPs can charge you actual money to go to certain websites, watch videos, or basically, make you pay more for something you already should have, but now don’t. Now you may be asking, “Well, why can’t I just switch ISPs?” Remember that question I asked you about the main five? Well, that’s pretty much all you get to deal with. Competition in these parts are difficult, as it costs loads of dosh to even make a company that provides high speed internet. And guess what? There’s even more! The FCC in January 2014 had been stripped of the ability to even enforce internet rules the way they used to – letting ISPs do whatever they want.

DustyOldRoses let’s ‘ya know what’s up.

…So, what’s the good news? Is there even any good news? Well, aside from the overload of questions on this post, we’re not quite dead yet. I swear. The FCC still has power. The agency still has the ability to change everything, with their vote at the end of 2014. So, what can you do about it? Hop over here http://bit.ly/1ETAiiq to sign a petition, and take action! Let your friends know what’s up, and have them sign it, and maybe even farther than that. There are whole organizations dedicated to helping the webz to secure a free, open internet. Even Obama had something to say about this issue, letting the FCC know that the internet is now part of our daily lives– which definitely says something about how important this whole issue is. So what are you waiting for? Warm up those typing hands, clear your throat, and let your voice be heard. Cheers to a free and open internet! And as always, stay awesome everyone.

Words and photos by John Apolinar.

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