Your Internet as You Know It

I know how to my say my alphabet backward and forward. Come to the Lake Sinclair Library and I'll demonstrate for you. Saying my alphabet backward is as automatic as anything else I can do. But what is really more amazing is not that I can say my alphabet backward but how I learned. The year was 1998. The only way to access was through AOL (America Online) with a dial-up modem and a phone line. The site took approximately 20 minutes to load and while waiting it recommended that I learn my alphabet backward then proceeded to show me a graphic of the alphabet backward. So I did just that, instead of walking away for the time it took to load the website that day, I took the time to learn my alphabet backward.

Now fast forward to today, 2017, dial-up is in the past, we do not even take a second thought about access. We access what we want, where we want, and when we want it. We stream endlessly with little to no lag. Do you remember lag? I remember lag. The experience of the slowdown. In gaming, in streaming, in web surfing, etc. That psychologically painful wait for what we now experience as instant gratification was once not so instant. We trade in our phones every couple of years to keep our hardware up to speed with our software. We buy into subscription services rather than physical software packages so we can have the practically instantaneous live updates.

But what happens if it ends (even temporarily) if in 2018 the slow down begins. In 2015, there was this great thing that occurred that you may have heard about in the news again recently being challenged (again), Net Neutrality. All internet traffic (at least in the United States) would be treated equally and redefined broadband access as a public utility shaping our internet experiences as we know them. We have everything at our fingertips. But what happens when this Net Neutrality is repealed? What would replace it? What will access look like? Would we notice the changes? Will we have to pay more for Netflix? Will we have to subscribe to more services to receive the same features and online experiences of which we have become acclimated? Will we even notice a difference? How will this affect YouTube? Will we still be able to afford internet access or the ability to access information?

December 14, 2017, will be another defining moment in Internet history. The potential end to Net Neutrality. How we access and experience the online will not necessarily be forever changed but it will be changed for the time being if the FCC overrules the current policies. While those making these changes believe it will be for the better it could be for the worse. The battle for the internet is not new and it is not necessarily about ensuring equal access for everyone, it's about the Benjamins, the money, the politics, and just vying for power and control over the people. I agree there are things in the online realm that ethically should not be accessed but that should be for the individual person to decide but that's my personal opinion. I want my internet, unfiltered and uninterrupted. I want to decide how to control my online experience and my own access to information. 

Learn More About Net Neutrality.

Regardless of the outcome this December, libraries continue to work to make access to information available to all.

Libraries work to protect your intellectual freedoms.
Speak up for your library and librarians.

Written by Virginia M. Greene,
Branch & Digital Initiatives Manager

The views, opinions, and positions expressed by the author(s) on these blogs are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of the Twin Lakes Library System, or any other employee thereof.