The Net Neutrality debate has played out like many other instances involving government intervention. The free market is full of dark and evil people who live to prey on the souls of regular people, the big government supporters say.
Business people live to exploit the wallets of individuals and swindle the poor in their creative minds. Their entire goal is not to live successfully and build a strong business operation that employs many people, but rather oppress all the helpless people of the world.
Then enters valiant government, our mighty knight in shining armor. Our benevolent masters have come to save us from ourselves.
In this instance, internet service providers are portrayed as oppressive regimes that want to destroy the internet for their own profits. The premise is already false, given that a successful internet is important to their business. A breakdown of their service does not help their business.
But let’s not let a good line of rhetoric get in the way of real world facts.
When talk of Net Neutrality being repealed became a probable reality, advocates of the law reacted with outrage. The hyperbole immediately began about how the end of the internet as we know it is upon us. The implication here is that Net Neutrality has either always been around, or it was a wreck before it became law.
What was life really like before Net Neutrality? Rewind just two years.
Was the internet a service obstructed by different tiers of data, endless pay-walls, and other oppressive practices by internet service providers?
While advocates for Net Neutrality will point to certain isolated examples of this actually happening, the market in general has moved forward and fast. Technological innovation due to the capitalist free market has been forward moving, instead of being stagnated by oppressive business practices. Anyone who has actually used the Internet since the nineties knows the scaremongering from lovers of big government to be a lie.
Internet speeds have increased dramatically since the nineties. This innovation is made necessary by customer demand and the improvement of technology. A series of technological factors have resulted in the need for better internet as well.
Video gaming was once largely done in house and offline. Now most video games primarily lean on multi-player services through the internet. This result has become more prominent alongside the increased usage of video streaming. Whereas people once watched through local access, cable or satellite, many people now rely on an internet connection for those services.
What Net Neutrality alarmists fail to take into account is the strain these activities place on the networks. This requires upgrading and additional investment. This will undoubtedly affect costs and result in tiered services in certain instances.
Treating all data the same sounds like a good sound bite, but data is used differently and in varying amounts. Checking your e-mail or Facebook messages varies greatly from watching an entire movie on Netflix or binge-watching a show on Hulu.
Data segregation may not be a bad thing. But even then, in most instances, this discrimination has not occurred. It only exists within the paranoid nightmares of economically-illiterate Net Neutrality supporters who believe that internet service providers are here to kill the internet, not provide us with the internet.
What did we ever do with the oppressive Internet prior to our government saviors intervening just two years ago?