If you follow me on Twitter you’ve probably seen me tweet about Net Neutrality a lot over the past few weeks. I even wrote a blog about it for LyntonWeb.
What is net neutrality?
Net neutrality is the idea or belief that all Internet service providers (ISPs) and governments should treat all internet data and traffic equally, and not discriminate against specific users, content, platforms, etc.
For example, this means that Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and other ISPs can’t throttle, or slow down traffic on their network because it comes from a rival company with a competing service.
Another way to look at it is this. Comcast, the largest ISP in the country is also one of the largest media creators in the world with its purchase of NBC Universal, (how this isn’t a potential monopoly or conflict of interest is beyond me). Comcast also owns a substantial stake in Hulu, a premium streaming video site with TV shows and movies. Without net neutrality Comcast could slow down any Netflix traffic to a crawl, making it difficult for users to use the service, and let Hulu run at full speed in an attempt to gain users that would leave the slower Netflix and sign up with Hulu that performs better.
Maybe this video will help explain further:
What do countries like Taiwan, Latvia, Israel, South Korea all have in common? Buckle up, this may surprise you. They all have faster Internet speeds than the US. Actually, according to a report by Akamai Technologies, the US is 13th in the world when it comes to Internet speeds. 13th! That’s pitiful. Instead of beefing up their networks, which the American government paid the ISPs $200 million dollars to do, they pocketed the money as profits and tried to nickel-and-dime their customers as people actually used the unlimited services they were paying obscene prices for.
Now, the ISPs are at it again, looking for new revenue streams without improving their networks or offering new products.
The ISPs say they want to build a “fast lane” which sounds amazing, but that’s just a crock of shit. They are going to throttle all network connections, and then sell the old normal speed as the “fast lane” at a premium price. It’s shitty. It’s Comcastic!
What’s even worse is the FCC is rolling over. The Federal Communications Commission was created to regulate any communications sent by radio, television, satellite, and cable. However, the FCC is basically in the pocket of ISP providers.
No, really. It’s true. Tom Wheeler, the current chairman of the FCC, is a former lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry. How fucked is that? This guy, who is supposed to be looking out for consumers said he’d rather give into Verizon’s definition of net neutrality rather than fight.
People who are in power to make decisions that affect millions of Americans have proven time and time again that they do not understand technology, and instead of getting better educated, they are passing ridiculous laws as well as making blind decisions and judgements. We have very few people in the government who understand technology. We need more people like Al Franken.
Net Neutrality is important to the stability and growth of the web and its users. Companies and start-ups who can’t pay the ISPs for access to the “fast lane” will not be able to compete against the companies who can. Innovation will suffer, the economy will suffer and we can’t go through that again.
Luckily there is a coalition to fight the ISPs (and the FCC) led by Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix and others. This is important. Net neutrality is a good thing. We need to protect the Internet and keep it free and open. This is not a geek or techie issue, nor is it a democratic or republican issue. It is an everyone issue. Every one will be hurt in this deal.
May 15th is Save the Internet Day. Write your Senators and Representatives. Better yet, call them. Tell them you support net neutrality and urge them to do the same. We’ve done this before with SOPA, we can do it again.
Here’s what you can do:
- Write and call your representatives. Use Congress Merge to find your senators and representatives and call and email them. Tell them you support true net neutrality and you expect them to do the same.
- Send a letter to Tom Wheeler. Send Tom Wheeler, the FCC Chairman a letter telling him you support true net neutrality and you expect him to do the same.
- Call Tom Wheeler. Don’t stop there. Call ol’ Tommy, too. The FreePress even provides this great short script for you to use. You can even use it when you call your representatives.
- Sign the White House petition. The White House petition to maintain true net neutrality to protect the freedom of information in the United States requires 100,00 signatures, and we’re 2/3 of the way there.
I urge you to do at least one of these, but hopefully you’ll do more. It will literally take less than five minutes to do them all.
Support net neutrality
We need to keep the Internet free.