Making sense of net neutrality
Everyone seems to be talking about net neutrality these days, and some states are even enforcing it. But what is it all about, and how will it affect our online future? This article should help clear the fog.
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Before we begin, allow me to state my opinion: net neutrality is a good thing. A very good one! So, I wholeheartedly support initiatives like the one in the article that I've linked to above. Here's why.
If you're like most people, you visit various websites on a daily basis. Maybe you log into your Facebook account to upload a recent photo. Maybe you visit YouTube and watch the latest movie trailers. But maybe you are also visiting a few smaller sized websites and blogs, which are run by small teams or individuals who don't have that much money at their disposal.
Let's assume that you regularly visit a blog that posts cat pictures, for example. The owner (let's call her Sue) is a stay-at-home mom who has three babies and likes to share pictures of her cats playing with her little ones. Isn't that an adorable thing?
Right now, Sue's blog and YouTube's website benefit from net neutrality. This means that the data which travels to and from Sue's blog has the same bandwidth and freedom as YouTube's data. Sure, Sue's blog will run a bit slower, because Sue doesn't have huge hosting and website development budgets. However, if Sue's blog will grow in popularity later on, and she decides to get a faster hosting account, her visitors will benefit from a significant speed increase. It's all in Sue's hands!
Net neutrality ensures that the data which travels to and from a tiny site has the potential to go as fast as the data that travels to and from a huge site. And you, as an end user, can have unrestricted access to all the content on the web. This is the key concept behind net neutrality: all the data packets that travel through the Internet have the same importance and must be treated equally.
Companies who oppose net neutrality want to put an end to that. They want to give the firms which have more money the right to purchase more Internet bandwidth, and thus keep the little guys running on whatever bandwidth is left (if any).
Your Internet Service Provider may have already required the FCC more control over your data. And there is a simple explanation for this request: the ISPs want to get more money out of the data that's passing through their computers.
Not only that, but without net neutrality, your ISP will be able to limit the speed of the data that comes from and goes to a particular website to virtually zero, forcing it to shut down for good. So, if that poor website owner wants to make his or her website available to people, he or she will need to pay the ISP a "get me back online at full speed" fee.
Big companies, which will be able to pay to get their sites faster, will benefit from this, of course. But millions of smaller sized websites will simply die.
How will this affect us? Well, we'll have much fewer choices when it comes to getting access to information, products and services. If you are used to discovering news by accessing 10 different websites, you may only be able to visit three of them in the future (the larger ones). The other seven may die a slow digital death. Good bye independent journalism!
I hope that just like myself, you are now a fan of net neutrality. So, this is the best day to become a fighter for this noble cause. Start sending the FCC emails, and let them know how you feel about it. Call them and tell them why net neutrality is such a wonderful thing. Contact your friends, tell them what you've learned today, and be an inspiration for them. If we work as a team, our actions have the potential to keep the Internet open for everyone, the way it was designed from the very beginning.
Apple will soon release a "breakthrough wireless speaker", which is supposed to provide an incredible listening experience.
It works in conjunction with an Apple Music subscription, and uses your voice to search and find the desired music tracks, read the news, get the weather details, and more.
I like this idea a lot, but I wonder whether the 7-inch tall speaker will have enough bass to please every person. I assume that due to its seven tweeters, high frequency reproduction isn't going to be a problem. More info.