What is net neutrality?
A government regulation, passed by the FCC in 2015 in order to make all data traveling across the internet created equally.
On February 26, 2015 the FCC adopted historic net neutrality rules that keep the internet free and open, classifying the internet as a telecommunications service (in other words, a utility). This meant that the FCC could prohibit internet providers from throttling or blocking customers’ access, and bans paid prioritization also known as “fast lanes.”
So why does it matter to me?
Net neutrality makes it so that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) cannot block or slow your access to any legal online content.
For example: Comcast cannot slow or block your access to a site that’s owned by a competitor.
Also, companies can’t pay more to have their content delivered to consumers faster.
Without the FCC’s net neutrality rules, ISPs could slow down (“throttle”) traffic on websites that don’t pay extra for preferential treatment (“internet fast lanes”). This would allow ISPs to charge customers extra to visit data-heavy sites such as YouTube and Netflix.
Net neutrality prevents ISP’s from deciding they are going to favor a service or application by delivering it at a faster speed because they’re paying extra.
ISPs could also slow down access to products that compete with them. For example, Verizon could slow Gmail down to try and get users to switch to its subsidiary Yahoo’s mail service.
Who supports net neutrality?
Activists all over the country, ordinary people like you and me support net neutrality. Also, big companies like Google and Netflix also support it.
Who doesn’t support it?
Most broadband companies and internet service providers. They claim that net neutrality stifles investment and innovation. Really, they just want to be able to make extra money off of companies that can afford to pay extra to have their content delivered faster.
Ajit Pai, the new head of the FCC as of January of this year, is an opponent of net neutrality and a former lawyer for Verizon. He is spearheading the effort for the FCC to move forward with a plan to destroy their 2015 net neutrality rules.
July 12, 2017 day of action
On Wednesday, July 12, 2017 individuals and companies around the world will stand up and show their support for net neutrality. There will be protests, marches, and online visual displays to voice support for the cause.
Some of the companies that have pledged to be a part of the action are Reddit, Apple, Amazon, Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook, and Netflix.
Those involved hope to remind online users what is at stake if the FCC decides to reverse their net neutrality rules.
The more that people speak out and show their support for net neutrality, the more likely it is that the FCC will leave the rules in place. An outpouring of support for net neutrality will signal to the FCC that we aren’t going down without a fight, and that they will face huge legal challenges should they decide to move away from net neutrality.
So what can I do?
- Share this article to raise awareness of the issue.
- Contact your representative and tell them that you support net neutrality. Legislators have the power to step in and call for new laws that the FCC has no control over.
- Sign NationofChange’s petition that we will be sending to the FCC, demanding that they keep their net neutrality rules in place.
- Post a comment on the FCC online message board stating that net neutrality is a must. (Open until July 17th, so get on that!)
- Post something like this on social media.