Ever since the invention of the Internet, there have been absolutely no barriers in the way of posting and viewing whatever you want online. Anyone can access any Internet service and anybody can create sites and share information with millions. This basic concept is called ‘net neutrality’. It means that Internet providers have to treat all websites and internet users equally and they can’t favour some sites over others.

Well net neutrality could be about to end. If a new law is passed in the US, anyone that wants to post or access something online will either have to pay a large fee or use a “slow lane” meaning that the site will be made deliberately slow. It will be the big businesses and the wealthy that are able to use the Internet to its full potential.

So why is this an issue?

In a world without net neutrality, Internet providers will be able to sell websites as a package.

In 2009, a Reddit user created this image to show what an Internet without neutrality would look like.

At the top left corner, we have a fictitious Internet provider named Telco who charge who $29.95 per month to access the Internet. However this Internet access does not include any websites. To access the websites seen in the second box on the left side, you’ll need to pay an extra fiver. To be able to access all of the sites in all of the boxes the way we can now, your Internet bill will be $79.95 per month according to this estimate.

The end of net neutrality will be a disaster for us all. All we will be able to see online is what a few main web providers want us to see. It will be massively detrimental to activism, education, free speech and communication. We must oppose this at all costs.

A site that gives practical ways to oppose this is https://www.battleforthenet.com/ . For now, this seems to only be an issue for the US but if the new law is passed, it could only be a matter of time before the UK government starts talking about it too.