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What the First Night of Net Neutrality Means for Me, Just A Guy Who Wants to Jerk-Off Before He…

What the First Night of Net Neutrality Means for Me, Just A Guy Who Wants to Jerk-Off Before He Goes to Bed

You come home after a long day’s work and initiate your nightly decompression routine: You toss your keys down, change into your House Pants and settle into your favorite chair for your typical post-work, stress-reducing JO sesh.

But then, wait? What’s this?

The page takes several extra second to load. Even worse, the stream is buffering, reminding you of more innocent days, when accessing internet porn meant leaving Limewire running overnight on your family computer and hiding the subsequent downloaded files in folders with coded names.

You, sir, have become a victim of the end of net neutrality.

For years, net neutrality was nothing but a vague threat that only media insiders really understood or cared about. You might have heard it referenced in some esoteric FCC story or buried within a rant by your Extremely Online friend. But the long-feared end of net neutrality is finally nigh, for the Federal Communications Commission officially repealed the pre-existing FCC protections, allowing for the creation of so-called internet “fast lanes” (but more on that later).

Did your eyes just glaze over? I don’t blame you; this is dense, downright boring stuff.

It’s also, however, why your porn is currently inaccessible. So now that I have your attention again, let me explain why and how the seemingly distant issue of net neutrality affects you, just a regular guy who wants to hork off at the end of the day.

What is this “net neutrality” you speak of?

Net neutrality is foremost a concept, and it states that the internet should be open and free. That’s something everyone can get behind. Specifically, net neutrality stipulates that internet service providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and Spectrum (née Time Warner) have to allocate bandwidth on their network indiscriminately and treat all content equally. Under net neutrality, content providers can’t pay ISPs more money to ensure their content is delivered more quickly than their competitors (hence the term “fast lanes”).

Essentially, net neutrality argues the internet should be regulated as though it’s a public utility, just like with broadband frequencies.

Yeah, I’m still lost.

Let’s use a concrete, but nonetheless hypothetical, scenario of a post-net neutrality world: Say Netflix, a company that has a market cap of more than $150 billion and burns through cash at an astounding rate, makes a deal with AT&T to ensure all of its shows stream smoothly, quickly and without issue. That’s great for ISPs, which hold an oligopoly over internet access. And it gives Netflix a distinct advantage over its competitors (HBO, Hulu and all other streaming video services).

What’s the issue? That just seems like good business.

Here’s where we get to the philosophical essence of the net neutrality argument, and it all depends on your personal definition of “fair,” and what you consider a free market. Pro-net neutrality types argue that allowing for the kind of sweetheart deals described above would give established internet companies an unfair advantage in their respective industries. Getting fast internet access would be so costly that it’d be hard for new companies to enter a market and be competitive. In other words, having such a high barrier to entry would be bad for innovation and cause industries to stagnant.

There’s also a worry that the increased cost of internet access will be passed on to consumers. So no more unlimited free porn streaming; you’ll have to pay for your porn, like some kinda camgirl patron.

It’s good to view net neutrality through the prism of Facebook. Many people, including members of Congress, have grown extremely worried about Facebook’s outsize influence on the public discourse in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and its role in spreading misinformation. But now that net neutrality is gone, Facebook could increase its stranglehold on public discourse by buying up tons of bandwidth and edging out all potential competitors. That’s a deeply troubling thought, regardless of your political affiliation.

Is there any good argument against net neutrality, then?

Back to the fairness thing: If you’re a free market purist, you believe that ISPs and content providers should be able to conduct their business by however they deem fit, because this is America.

That’s the strictly pro-business take. There’s also a case to be made that ending net neutrality would benefit consumers. Take PornHub. Considering PornHub is the largest free porn destination in the world, and that it trafficks in bandwidth-heavy video content, you could argue it makes sense for PornHub to have fast lane access. But almost no one buys that take.

This all sounds familiar…

It is! You might remember that there was a similar kerfuffle over net neutrality three years ago, when net neutrality advocates worried the FCC would vote to rescind it. Much of the skepticism was directed at Tom Wheeler, Obama’s FCC chairman appointee, because he previously worked as a lobbyist for ISP firms. But the FCC voted to strengthen net neutrality protections under Wheeler.

Wheeler resigned from the FCC on January 20, 2017, the same day Trump was inaugurated.

Sounds political!

Right again! This is a clusterfuck of corrupt politicking. The FCC has become decidedly more pro-business under the Trump administration, to the point that many have accused it of engaging in outright corruption.

You might remember Comcast publicly thanking the FCC last December for voting to rescind net neutrality and giving $1,000 bonuses to each of its workers in celebration. Comcast got the ability to price gouge content providers. And in return the government, particularly President Trump, got to point to the bonuses as the fruits of his tax plan and use it as good PR.

So let’s review: The multi-billion ISPs win. Well-established technology firms benefit. Startup businesses lose. And your porn and your pocketbook suffers.