What would the web be like without Net Neutrality?

FCC plans to roll back net neutrality rules in place for years

This undated photo provided by Google shows a Google technician working on some of the computers in the Dalles, Ore., data center. (AP Photo/Google, Connie Zhou)
This undated photo provided by Google shows a Google technician working on some of the computers in the Dalles, Ore., data center. (AP Photo/Google, Connie Zhou)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thousands of websites, including giants Google, Netflix, Amazon and Facebook, are taking part in the Net Neutrality Day of Action Wednesday.

The Net Neutrality Day of Action is designed to show users what the internet would be like without net neutrality.

Net Neutrality Day of Action — Twitter

Matt Smith, the senior editor for Digital Trends in Portland compared the proposed changes to putting toll booths on open freeways.

“You could be going to your favorite website and it could be blocked or it could be slow because you didn’t pay for access,” Smith said.

Information online flows over pipes to your computer, Wired editor-in-chief and CBS News contributor Nicholas Thompson explained. Net neutrality prevents internet service providers including Comcast, Time Warner Cable or Verizon to treat websites using those pipes differently.

An end to net neutrality could mean sites like Netflix and Hulu would have to pay millions to effectively stream their shows.

“It could just result in a situation where its not possible for a company like Netflix to operate,” Smith said.

Earlier this year, the FCC announced plans to roll back the Obama-era rules that increased government oversight and required online service providers to treat all internet traffic the same, CBS News reports.

The core of net neutrality is that “the internet has been a place of openness,” Thompson told CBS News.

In 2006, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, an opponent of net neutrality, famously described the internet as a “series of tubes.”

“And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes. And if you don’t understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it’s going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.” — Ted Stevens

Though he was widely mocked for that description, he’s kind of right, the Washington Post reported in 2011.

Thompson told CBS News the internet providers’ posture is “if we make more money, we’ll invest more heavily in [the pipes], and you’ll get faster speeds.” For the FCC, Thompson said one reason the agency wants to roll back the net neutrality rules is because “they’re very close to the telecom companies.”

Read more about net neutrality: