Series 19 | Part 2: The Internet Fast Lane

The Internet was created several decades ago and became a part of our lives around 1995 with America Online. Remember that CD’s that came in the mail, specifying an exact amount of hours you could use the Internet? Remember using up all those hours so quickly because you were so excited to have the Internet even if it was just an online encyclopedia? Now imagine that’s taken away from you and you need a 300-pound volume of textbooks on two bookshelves, each book for one letter of the alphabet. Now imagine YouTube goes away. Imagine you couldn’t access Amazon.

Okay, stop hyperventilating. You won’t lose YouTube or Amazon, and they’ll continue to be free and running at the same speed they do now. However, Etsy and other up-and-coming e-commerce sites might require payment or suffer slower speeds until they can afford to pay for the fastlane. That’s really scary. That means these businesses could fail. In fact, web-based entrepreneurship, which is basically all entrepreneurship, could fail. In fact, it probably will fail if FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai gets his way.

In fact, it probably will fail if FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai gets his way. Think about blog sites like Medium, which wasn’t so big until a few years ago. Would the creators have gone through with it? Would we have that site? What about the people who created MapMyRun, essentially a site to create maps of where you jog everyday and then communicate with other runners online and compare their routes with yours and see whose fastest on the same routes? That’s not a for-profit site. Eventually, however, it made money through advertising. Eventually, UnderArmour bought it for a lot of money. That’s entrepreneurship, and that’s what we’d lose if we lose Net Neutrality.

Much like those late-night infomercials, though: THAT’S NOT ALL! BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

Not only does this affect the economy, primarily the small businesses that Republicans say they love, but it affects foreign policy, education, diplomacy, and democracy itself.

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