You can thank Ajit Pai and the FCC.
From the bottom of my heart, I really and truly hope that somehow I am proven wrong. I hope that the FCC decides to actually vote on behalf of the people it represents. I hope that the FCC does what is right, rather than allowing itself to be bought out by large corporations and interest groups.
But we all know that's not going to happen.
What Net Neutrality was.
The Internet has long been renowned as an open platform, where anybody could publish their ideas or content, without fear of being censored or otherwise limited. Especially in a country like the United States, where freedom of speech is secured by our Bill of Rights, the Internet has become a powerful medium for sharing thoughts and information.
The great thing about an open Internet is that corporations do not have the power to interfere with your Internet experience by setting up paywalls blocking off arbitrary websites. However, that principle is directly under threat today. For years, the telecommunications industry has been lobbying the government to allow them more control over the data their users can access. Net Neutrality is the concept that the Internet is not owned by any one person or business, and thus can truly be used as an open platform.
Who Killed it
But then along came the Trump administration, and along with that came FCC chairman Ajit Pai. With such competent, well-versed leaders in office, naturally, our nation could only make smart decisions. One of these was bringing up Net Neutrality laws for repeal.
The FCC made a strong case to repeal the laws, using extremely shady tactics. Powered by millions of pro-repeal comments from fake accounts, and comments made under the identities of dead people, the FCC deceived itself into thinking that the American populace actually wanted to hand over control of the Internet to large corporations.
Our beloved chairman in his full glory, celebrating himself.
And as if that weren't bad enough, Ajit Pai recently released a video making fun of the pro-Net Neurality push back, dressed as Santa Claus.
What Could we Have Done?
The saddest part is, there's really not much else that we could have done differently to prevent this from happening. We called our Congresspeople. We texted RESIST. We protested. We used hashtags to spread the word across the Internet. We even posted banners all over popular websites.
Within our power as everyday civilians, we did just about all of what we could to prevent this (we could also boycott Verizon, but that's another story).
And that's the problem. The reason why Net Neutrality died is that it was out of our control. Those with the power to influence the decision will now be able to take that influence, and charge us with impunity for access to services like Facebook and Wikipedia.
Thank you, Ajit Pai. You did humanity a noble service.