It’s hard for me to remember what life was like before the World Wide Web. I predate it by just a year, and, like many people in the ‘90s, I didn’t yet realize how integral the Internet would eventually become to my lifestyle. I’m writing this very post on Wi-Fi service provided by Rowan University. Web access is cool. But, in a recent ruling, a U.S. appeals court struck down the FCC’s regulations for preserving the net neutrality we’ve enjoyed since the web’s inception. I propose a mashup video on net neutrality — what it is, how it’s discussed in tech and politics and what it means for the public.
This is a weighty topic, given how ubiquitous and vital web connectivity is for everyone around the world, but I’d also like throw some humor in (I can guarantee you I’ll find a spot for this Simpsons clip in there somewhere). The web is often portrayed as binary codes, glowing green screens and radiating Wi-Fi signals. so, off the top of my head, I could see a cloudy sky clearing into a beautiful blue representing the Internet access spreading to everyone, removed from the shackles of restrictive pricing.
Web connectivity affects everything from conference call technology like Skype and Google Hangouts to leisure software like Netflix and Xbox Live. And it wasn’t too long ago when we didn’t have any of these technologies that we rely on daily. For my narrative arch, I’d like to start at the beginning with the promises of bringing power and information to and from the common man, capturing the mystery of the early ‘90s “information superhighway.” Then, with the proliferation of personal computers and smartphones, I want to demonstrate how ISPs have come to seize more power than we’re comfortable with, and then complicate the issue with the politics of the FCC and the ineffectiveness of broadband not keeping up to snuff with the output we’re increasingly demanding from it.
I anticipate using images of money, perhaps even images that represent the oligopolistic nature of ISPs in America today. Many U.S. cities are rolling out “muni-WiFi” to its residents, As we’re developing larger and more intense apps and software, our hardware is falling behind, so ISPs want to charge us a premium, as described in this Verge editorial. Not even that, without net neutrality, ISPs could just increase or decrease a site’s or service’s connectivity speeds just because they felt like it. So, essentially, I want to show how, like this many voices are arguing today, we’re at a crossroads with ISPs and our access to the Internet, showing where each path might take us.