We have some bad news. Ok fair, we know…when was the last time we had any good news in this shitstorm that is 2017 besides the announcement that Luna Teigen-Legend is going to be a big sister? But this bad news involves the internet: that thing you’re reading this article on right now while hastily clicking back and forth between work-related tabs at your desk (you’re not subtle, but we love you anyway). Listen up, because your precious source of betchy memes may very well be at stake. The FCC announced this week that they’ll be rolling back net neutrality, and if you don’t know what that means, trust me, it’s a BFD. Also we’re like, about to tell you what it means so just like cool your jets for one sec okay? Jeez.
WTF Is Net Neutrality?
I know you know what the word neutral means because, Switzerland, and those high school friend group falling-outs that you claimed “not to choose a side” during (but you obviously strategically made each friend think you were on her side). Net neutrality is basically a policy enforced in a 2015 protective order by the Obama administration (we miss u bb, come back) stating that internet providers are not allowed to interfere with the speed, pricing, or access to any websites or programming.
You know how your cable company makes you pay extra for packages that let you watch Jon Snow’s perfectly sculpted butt grind up on his aunt? (If you’re not caught up by now, what are you even doing?) Well, without net neutrality, your internet provider can do a similar thing and pick and choose what websites and content they want to charge you for, or make more difficult to access. Imagine having to pay to read Betches every week just because your Wifi provider wants to make a little extra cash? Criminal.
So Wait, What Just Happened?
Yesterday, the president of the FCC, Ajit Pai, announced a plan to roll back these consumer protections in order to end the government’s “micromanaging” of the internet. Now, if this sounds fishy to you, you’re damn right, because removing net neutrality would actually directly allow companies to micromanage the services they provide and create restrictions and obstacles for consumers, as well as potentially limiting free speech. The power would shift to major cable and internet companies, such as Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, and AT&T, giving them the ability to choose which websites load quickly or slowly, and charge certain sites and streaming services extra just so they can get their domains out of the “slow traffic lane.” With these websites having to pay more, subscription costs are also likely to go up to make up for the difference. Also, many blogs and independent retailers or private websites may face charges to run on provider’s plans, potentially shutting them down altogether if those costs can’t be afforded. So go ahead and remind me again how this makes logical sense for the good of the people.
What Does This Mean?
If you are a typical, panicked millennial, you already know the feeling of living paycheck to paycheck and scraping by to pay your rent every month as you sit and eat your Seamless-delivered meal by the light of an overpriced Anthropologie candle. Ok, so money management is admittedly not the strong suit of our generation, which makes it even more horrifying to realize that soon, you might have to start paying for things like email, video, music streaming, and more. Portugal currently has a setup similar to what is projected to happen in the US if Ajit and the Republican majority vote to get rid of net neutrality – all of the most popular applications, websites, and subscriptions are sold in bundles, like cable packages.
If I have to start paying to receive emails telling me I’m behind on payments for Spotify, Pornhub, and Youtube, I will lose my fucking mind. Major providers can also choose which websites to slow down, to drive traffic to sites that they would rather have you use because they pay them the bigger bucks. For instance, if Amazon is forking over a hefty sum to your internet provider, you can kiss The Handmaid’s Tale goodbye because your Hulu buffering time is about to be slow as shit. These packages will split up services into multiple expensive bundles, which will start to add up very quickly and make it extremely difficult to use all of the services and sites you once got for free. And there’s only so long we can all keep coasting on our exes’ Netflix accounts without them realizing, and then we’re really screwed.
SOS Pls Help?
With that frightening information being said, we need to do everything in our power to stop the reversal of net neutrality if we want to keep our lightning-fast access to Steve’s luscious hair on Stranger Things (for real, lmk what conditioner you use). The vote is currently set for December 14th, and it’s actually expected to pass based on a split favoring Republicans, so FB stalkers, Instagram models, and Reddit trolls need to band together fast to save their beloved world wide web. This is really a bipartisan issue, and boils down to the fact that major, wealthy companies should not be able to control what we see or do online. That’s just like, the rules of free speech.
One way to voice your concern is to call your local representatives and try to get Congress to squash this decision. Or you can slide directly into Ajit’s DMs and call the FCC offices at 202-418-1000. Comedian John Oliver – or as my grandpa refers to him “the really funny British guy who says ‘fuck’ a lot – also did an excellent segment on Last Week Tonight explaining net neutrality and the repercussions of its removal. He and the team at the show bought out the domain name gofccyourself.com, which directs you straight to comments and complaints page relating to this proposal on the FCC’s official website. So go let it out, honey. Put it in
the book their comments section.
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