People feared traffic throttling with no Net Neutrality Rules and that day has arrived.

There was much made of net neutrality in 2017 and 2019 as the Trump administration took over the government. President Obama had directed the FCC to put rules in place preventing companies from charging more for certain online services or throttling traffic. Ajit Pai and the Trump administration rolled those rules back and it is already changing the internet. Reddit, Twitter and other services exploded with memes and examples of what the internet could look like when ISPs had the power to decide what traffic would or would not move on their networks and at what speed.

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Throttling your plan

One of the things that net neutrality rules protected was that all traffic had to be treated equally. Now that those rules are no longer in place, providers are already throttling certain services and speeds. According to Bloomberg: “Researchers from Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst conducted more than 650,000 tests in the U.S. and found that from early 2018 to early 2019, AT&T Inc. throttled Netflix Inc. 70% of the time and Google’s YouTube service 74% of the time. But AT&T didn’t slow down Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video at all.” The articles goes onto state the executives are offering consumers choices in how to use their data and how to deliver a great product. The idea that some services are getting prioritized over others and that consumers might have to pay more in order to get “the whole internet” and all the services that use mobile data.

For example: Pots and Pans reports that “AT&T is openly advertising that cellular customers can stream the company’s DirecTV Now product without it counting against monthly data caps. Meanwhile, all of the competing video services like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, Netflix or Amazon Prime count against AT&T data caps – and video can quickly kill a monthly data plan download allotment.” ISPs promised not to do this sort of thing and the net neutrality rules prevented them from doing so. Their statements that they would continue to treat all traffic fairly is already proving false.

Sprint is also guilty for slowing speeds for Skype users over its network. What’s even more granular is that they throttle androids more than iPhones according to this Bloomberg story.

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How does it affect you?

Net Neutrality allows anyone that accesses the web to interact with any website or service at the normal speed that they pay for equally. In this new environment, companies could cut special deals with services to speed up their service or another that could not pay. Startups and new services without the money to pay the rates would be left out in the cold. That would kill competition and kill innovation. For the consumer, this means that if you subscribe to multiple streaming services and one has paid to get faster speed on the network you are paying for and another hasn’t, one service will work well while another will not work as well. It’s not fair to the services involved and it isn’t fair to consumers. There is a possibility that the decision will be overturned in court but it is a long shot at best.

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The new internet

Everything that ISPs promised they would not do is already happening. Proponents of getting rid of the rules pointed out that the internet developed with no such rule in place for 30 years. However, close watchers of the change noticed that it was ISPs lobbying in Washington that got the conversation about this rule started. Ajit Pai at the FCC was willing to go along with it, as a former ISP executive for Comcast, and pushed the rule through despite tremendous public pressure not to do so. In the future, who areas of the internet could be slowed down (like Rouges Magazine!) because they cannot pay for faster speed rates. It’s bad for services and its bad for the consumer. Here at Rouges, we encourage all our readers to reach out to your Congress person and make your voice heard on this matter.

To find your US congressperson please visit this site.