The sole attribute responsible for the growth of such Information giants as Google and Facebook is the idea that everyone has equal access to the roads leading to online businesses, an idea known as Net Neutrality. The Internet Service Conglomerates have been trying to do away with Net Neutrality for years now. They claim they need to be able to charge in a more "balanced" way to make up for expanding the infrastructure to handle the massive amounts of data used by some services.
Though consumers may be left asking if the true problem doesn't just lie in money management for American ISPs. Worldwide, the U.S. is ranked only 24th in broadband penetration. Not to mention, it is only this year that the United States, birthplace of the Internet, broke into the top ten countries in terms of speed. Of course, we're at the bottom of that list at number 10, but at least we made the list.
It may seem, then, that improving the infrastructure is not as big of a concern to these companies as maybe just increasing revenue. The problem is, increasing revenue in this way is not a matter of tapping into new revenue sources. The money will come from the same consumers that have been paying their bills to the ISPs all this time. It will just be spread out more.
Even though the ISPs have been denying this as a possibility, claiming Net Neutrality supporters are all up in arms over nothing, Comcast is already guilty of putting the tolls in place. Through strong-arm tactics, Comcast used its power and control over the data utilities of its realm and slowed Netflix's speed until they could no longer take the loss. Netflix was forced to enter a contract with Comcast for access to its customers, that same access that subscribing to an ISP is supposed to provide by default.
The proof of our fears comes full circle today as Netflix announces an increase to the subscription price for their streaming service. While they claim it is "in order to continue adding more movies and TV shows," the timing says otherwise. Back in April Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the company plans to increase subscription prices for new customers by one or two dollars a month within the next few months, a plan obviously put in place to deal with their Comcast issues.
The bottom line is, lack of Net Neutrality means higher prices for base consumers. The extra cost to companies will always be passed along to the consumers. The Internet will soon be treated like cable if we don't enact true Net Neutrality, meaning you will have to pay for the sites you want access to.
Also, you may as well consider tech start-ups to be a thing of the past. A new company will only be able to get started if they can build the tech, as well as pay the tolls. Since most internet start-ups aren't profitable for several years, at least, this will just not happen anymore.
No new companies to challenge and improve upon things such as Snapchat, Facebook, or even Google. What we have is all we will have. We are losing the only place left on Earth to start a business in an affordable way.