Illustration by Peter Z. Scheer

Unfortunately this dystopian vision of life in post-net neutrality America isn’t the stuff of science fiction. It’s already happening.

Currently the FCC doesn’t treat broadband Internet as a utility, and a court therefore invalidated the regulator’s half-measure rules keeping the Internet neutral and open, as it has been for most of its existence. More recently, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler further caved to industry — he was formerly the top lobbyist for the cable and wireless businesses, after all — and now people are seriously concerned about the implications for consumers.

Here is a sampling of T.C. Sottek’s vision of what might come in the near future:

You get home, kick your shoes off, and plop down on the couch. It’s time for some TV. Unfortunately AT&T still doesn’t let you watch Netflix on your phone, and your New Phone isn’t compatible with your home router’s Wi-Fi chip, so you set it aside and turn on your computer. Fortunately you’re a member of the internet’s upper-class: the group of Americans with access to broadband at home. And like most people with cable internet, you live in Comcast Country.

There’s simply no better choice than Comcast. Because it’s the only choice.

Netflix is a lot more expensive than it used to be, and while you still don’t really want to buy cable TV, paying for internet is basically the same thing these days. Want to read ESPN, The New York Times, and a couple hundred other websites you don’t care about? There’s a package for that. Want to watch videos on YouTube or download music from iTunes? There’s a package for that, but you’re already paying too much for Netflix. The one thing you really miss is porn. There’s no package for that.

Read more at The Verge.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer


If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.