The End of the Free Internet as We Know it

The End of the Free Internet as We Know it

Colin Aldrich, Contributor

We have expectations when we open our internet browsers; be it Bing, Google, Safari or Firefox. We expect to have full access to the mass digital archive that is the internet. We prepare ourselves to digest any of the thousands of mediums available to us when we surf the Free Web, from cat videos to Holocaust documentaries. We dive into a neutral, open, and uncensored digital world of possibility. Wherein that world we can laugh, share, and create with no bounds or limitations encumbering us. This is our internet.

This is thanks to the principle of Net Neutrality, or as some like to call it, the First Amendment of the internet. Net Neutrality is the idea that ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) like Verizon, CenturyLink and Cox have to treat all data equally. Whether it is an email to your kindly Grandmother overseas or a streamed episode of Friends on Netflix, internet companies cannot control which data is sent faster or is throttled or even blocked from your internet experience.

The good news is that we won the fight for Neutrality two years ago when on February 26 of 2015, the FCC ruled in favor of Net Neutrality by adopting several bills that stomped on attempts to regulate the internet. This means that America’s broadband networks must be fast, fair, and open. However, the chair of the FCC, Ajit Pai, is attempting to scrap Net Neutrality in favor of a more regulated and controlled internet. He explains himself in an interview with William Brangham of PBS by saying; “by imposing those heavy-handed economic regulations on Internet service providers big and small, we could end up disincentivizing companies from wanting to build out Internet access to a lot of parts of the country, in low-income, urban and rural areas.”

Though this is a valid point, we have to ask ourselves if this prospective future it is worth our freedom on the internet. After all, to strip us of our open and equal internet would essentially dismantle our rights of free speech and free press by censoring and blocking content that the Giant Telecoms do not want us to see. As Sara Sheridan put it, the abolishment of Net Neutrality would contribute to the “steady erosion of our liberties both online and off.” The time is drawing close for us, the people, to fight for our free web! The bill to scrap Net Neutrality will presented to the FCC board in November, so it is our duty to bombard our senators with as many calls as we can dial. Join the fight at, a nonprofit resistance group attempting to rally us – the internet users of America – to inform our congress that we will not give up easily. For the internet. For democracy. The internet needs us; will you accept the call?

According to Ozy News: The Federal Communications Commission has released a plan to end rules preventing ISPs from blocking or slowing access to some sites while giving preferential treatment to others. If passed during next month’s FCC meeting — as it’s expected to — the change will be a major win for telecom companies, as well as for Republicans who argue the Obama-era regulations stifle innovation. Meanwhile, the agency’s Restoring Internet Freedom order will seek to block state governments from attempting to pass their own net neutrality laws.