This is only for dummies.
Not a deep dive analysis of net neutrality and its implications, if you understand nothing about net neutrality, it should make sense.
Here it goes.
Today we have internet service providers who connect us to the internet. Then there’s the internet. Internet is a platform where a lot of things happen. It is to be noted that, connection to internet and internet services are two different ballgames. While your internet service provider charges you for giving you the connection to the internet, Streaming services (for eg.) charges for the service it provides to you (over the internet, assuming you can manage to get there). Therefore you pay separately, ISP for the internet and Netflix for the chill. (I do try, you see!)
What triggered net neutrality activism originates from anger of internet activists who found themselves to be cheated and underestimated by certain empire’s open plea for a potentially ( or perhaps absolutely) evil idea. To combine the provision of internet connection to the users, as an add-on to the internet service.
You’d get connection to internet for free if you pay for the service. Since a certain company is paying for the internet connection for getting you to use their service, they don’t want you using the free internet connection provided by them to use any other service at the expense of their free internet connection. If you have siblings, you understand. Right? .
However the stealthy con is, by essentially providing limited access to the internet, the empires would end up creating their own internet which is not a free and open platform. I’ll repeat (and rephrase), by only providing the internet connection to their own services, the companies would essentially end up limiting the internet access only to their services. And it’s significance becomes more apparent when we scale it up. Providing free internet connection means a business model that would require a large user base and short term loss. This would restrict small businesses for getting to the internet since they can’t afford losses and suddenly the internet would become a high risk approach for small businesses. Therefore, the smaller businesses would bleed out slowly from the internet, making internet a realm of a few empires where you could subscribe to any one big company that would provide you everything. This is bad because you then you don’t have enough options to go to in case these companies are not treating you right.
This is the reason why net neutrality matters. It’s in a way the backbone of internet freedom.