Net Neutrality: Bark To FCC For Internet By & For The People By 9/15

by Mary Haight on September 10, 2014

net neutrality

The need for net neutrality is all about open access to speed on the internet. The Internet has operated on this basis since inception: all sites load at the same speed. Cable and telecom companies want to set up toll booths, as in “nice website you have there, too bad no one will see it, unless you pay-to-play.”

If cable and telecom companies get their way, say goodbye to any site that can’t pay, non-profits, educators, artists, innovators will all suffer…it will crush start-ups. The internet will be controlled by corporate internet service providers able to block those independent voices that don’t suit their agenda. There are many negative consequences to this proposed action the FCC is ready to approve.

Net neutrality is not an issue limited to boomers with etsy sites or Gen Y tech-savvy communicators. That dreaded spinning wheel on your screen — the nightmare of every internet author ever, anywhere — is the kiss of death to a website. How long does it take to click away from a site when this happens? Exactly! Tens of thousands of small businesses that provide good products, employ a few people, and make a living would be gone.

This is what the fight for net neutrality is: No special “fast lane” for corporations; banning cable providers from throttling your favorite website’s speed in order to provide more bandwidth to those who pay the highest fees.

What Does Net Neutrality Have To Do With You?

A net slowdown for the 90 -99% of site owners is not just about you finding charming little gems like Henri Le Chat Noir, the cat with existential angst, or the Corgi who does the kibble dance. Imagine everyday exercises like doing homework with your kids using Kahn Academy, or something with greater implications, like possible serious health issues observable by your doctor (or vet) via the internet only to see that spinning wheel? Talk for free to family and friends in Europe or other places? Not likely if this proposed rule is enacted.

In a fit of thoughts about unintended consequences, these actions have the potential to pave the way for manipulating what you can know and as a result, how you think, simply by virtue of controlling what you can’t see. Imagine allowing corporations that kind of control. We already do that to some extent with the filters that choose what’s reported in the news. We don’t need an internet that effectively blinds the public.

And what about protest, and the free exchange of ideas? How would that begin if we can’t see the websites that present a different perspective than the one held by your internet service provider?

Bandwidth allotment determines how much data can be downloaded per second, or transferred from the internet to your computer.  More is better for data rich images, like touring museum galleries online. Bandwidth is important to experiencing video performances, like TED talks, your favorite band, or a live webinar, at the speed it was meant to be seen, not buffering every 5 seconds. Bandwidth is limited by the plans you choose to pay for, but also by current infrastructure capabilities.

If a special “fast lane” is created for businesses who pay, bandwidth is then reduced for other users. Netflix’s service would be ruined if the proposed rule were enacted, though they could probably afford it by passing on fees to you. Yet Netflix has joined in this protest today, as has Kickstarter, WordPress, and Etsy. Google and FB have not, unlike the last time we had a mass protest against business and government internet control in 2012. It’s complicated. See this Huffington Post video for a partial explanation .

September 15th Deadline To Save The Internet for Everyone

The FCC Chairman shared an interesting comment with the Daily Kos. He said they pay attention to original comments, not the manufactured submissions you just click to send.

If you want the internet to be controlled by people and not corporations, go to the Daily Kos campaign page here, put your two cents in on how important net neutrality is to your use of the internet, and send it. If you do it right now, you won’t have reason to kick yourself on 9/16. I don’t often push…well, unless you know me up close as a friend…but this is that important. Thanks for caring!

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