8. Telus Blocked Their Workers Union’s Website
There are some grim, dystopic, 1984-like things that could happen if Internet providers were free to block any website they wanted. A company could silence anyone saying anything they didn’t like. As crazy as that sounds, it’s happened before.
In 2005, before Canada got new neutrality laws, the Canadian Internet provider Telus did just that. Their workers were on strike, and the union had set up a website called “Voices for Change” that laid out their complaints and their demands. And Telus blocked it.
Telus blocked its customers from seeing the union’s website and, in the process, blocked them from another 766 websites hosted on the same server. They censored an entire section of the Internet entirely because they didn’t like what people were saying.
The craziest part, though, is that, without net neutrality, there was no law against it. People were protected if the government tried to censor them, but nobody could stop an Internet provider from doing it. In the end, Telus got a tongue-lashing—but they weren’t even fined a dime.
7. Plusnet Charged Customers Extra To Play Online Games
Before the United Kingdom introduced net neutrality, the company Plusnet tried a strange plan to keep their bandwidth down. From now on, they told their customers, anyone who wanted to play online games was going to have to pay extra.
The company set up a tier of different data plans, asking their customers to decide if they wanted to be able to surf the Internet, stream videos, play video games, or do all three. If they weren’t willing to pay for the premium package, they’d have to pay extra.
It wasn’t just video games that were blocked in the cheaper plans. VPNs were blocked, forcing employees who remotely connect to their offices to pay out a little more. And, unless you were willing to pay for the most expensive plan, peer-to-peer programs like BitTorrent were slowed down so badly they hardly worked at all.