Everything You Need to Know About Net Neutrality
You may have noticed some interesting things on Wednesday regarding your favorite websites. Popular sites such as Netflix, Tumblr, and Reddit participated in “Internet Slowdown Day” in the Battle for the Net. A consistent loading icon served as a reminder of what our internet future may look like if net neutrality is passed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
What is it?
Net neutrality and open internet, according to the latest definition from the FCC, will “ensure that the Internet remains a powerful platform for innovation and job creation; to empower consumers and entrepreneurs; to protect free expression; to promote competition; to increase certainty in the marketplace by providing greater predictability for all stakeholders regarding federal policy in this area, and to spur investment both at the “edge,” and in the core of our broadband networks.”
The FCC is proposing to end Open Internet and allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to come in and take action. The Battle for the Net comments in their Frequently Asked Questions page in regards to open Internet, “Just as your phone company cannot decide who you could call and what you say on that call, your ISP should not be concerned with what content you view or post online.”
What does that mean?
In short, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) want to manage internet access and charge you on your usage. This would allow ISPs such as Comcast the ability to block certain services such as Google Maps and charge for it separately.
“Without an open internet, big corporations would have tight control over how we access websites and services.”
How does it affect you?
If the Internet becomes regulated and charged by the site, the entire spectrum of business and freedom of speech will be changed. Chad Dickerson, the CEO of Etsy and supporter of net neutrality writes, “This is an all-hands-on-deck moment for the business world, because the future of the internet is the future of American business.”
So why have you only heard about this now? Honestly, you haven’t. Remember SOPA and PIPA? These ideas have all been twisted and decorated but it’s the same Scooby Doo villain. The problem lies within stuffy language and words like “policy” and “Section 230 B”. John Oliver, as always, summarizes it best, “The cable companies have figured out the great truth of America; if you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring.”
There is a silver lining. Large corporations, companies, users, and everyone in between are loudly and proactively voicing their opinions and seeking out ways to keep our open internet. Until September 15th, the FCC is allowing users to comment with their opinions, concerns, and caps-locked opinions.
And if there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, it’s an Open Internet.
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