Net Neutrality Day of Action – Fight for the Internet!
(Full disclosure: We really do try our best not to get political, whether it be with customer conversations or on social media. When it comes to Net Neutrality, however, we can’t help but bring some politics into it because of the nature of the subject. We aim to make this informative and not politically motivated. We welcome discussions about this on our Facebook page and please ask questions, no matter how simple you may think they are.)
If you haven’t heard of Net Neutrality before today, you likely will see it being talked about in a lot of places all over the internet. Companies such as Google, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, Reddit, Dropbox, and even Pornhub will be making you aware of what it means as today, July 12, is Net Neutrality “Day of Action.” So, what exactly does it all mean?
In short, there were a set of rules called Title II passed in 2015 by the FCC to ensure that all websites get equal bandwidth treatment to prevent throttling. Basically, no matter where you went on the internet, you got there at the same speed as any other site (with some rare exceptions). You can access anything on the internet without any sort of restriction, even if that particular site used a lot of bandwidth such as YouTube or Netflix.
So this all sounds good, right? What’s the online protesting all about?
This may all change with the new head of FCC, Ajit Pai. Hired on in January 2017, Pai has been a long-time opponent of Net Neutrality and has set his mission to get rid of Title II. The FCC’s voting commission is set to move forward with the plan of ending them, but have been giving the public a chance to voice their opinions on the subject.
What could happen if Title II is dismantled? This is the scary part – major ISP’s (internet service providers such as Comcast, AT&T, Wave, Verizon, etc.) could legally throttle or at worst, block, certain websites. It may cost you more to access the high definition version of Netflix, to watch YouTube videos, or to search on Google. Some companies may straight up block their competition’s sites or just slow down their speed to a crawl where you want to use them any longer. Verizon, who owns Yahoo, could make their customer’s searches on Google so unbearably slow you wouldn’t want to use it any longer.
A good example of what this is like is how some cable/satellite companies have to deal with now. Just recently ABC and NBC were having a dispute with DirectTV and some customers lost those channels (temporarily for some). The worst-case scenario with losing Net Neutrality would be the same thing happening with websites. Have you ever asked a friend if they watch a particular channel and they said they don’t have it? Future conversations may end up being, “No we can’t access Netflix. We have Comcast and they only let us watch Hulu instead.”
And while we’re talking about worst case scenarios, a quote from the Netflix CEO a month ago (before the company decided to once again back Net Neutrality and join in the Day of Action) should put it in perspective that it’s a real possibility.
“We think net neutrality is incredibly important, [but it’s] not narrowly important to us because we’re big enough to get the deals we want.” – Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.
Don’t be fooled by the major corporations claiming that while they support an open internet, they also want to roll back Net Neutrality rules. This is akin to a young child claiming that they promise they won’t raid the cookie jar you kept hidden if you just keep it on the kitchen table instead. They are trying to be misleading on purpose to create confusion to the public on the whole matter. AT&T is currently doing this and we’ll likely be seeing pushback and purposeful confusion from other major internet service providers. They have a lot to gain if Title II gets pulled and we, as consumers, will have nothing positive coming out of it.
Other opponents of Net Neutrality say they want less government control over ISPs. They are stifled with regulations and should be able to run their businesses how they want and let the market decide. Unfortunately, the main weakness to this argument is the fact that most Americans don’t have much of a choice in ISPs where they live. Many can only choose between 1 or 2 companies. If you don’t like them, tough – no internet for you.
We are expecting a lot of popups on major websites to inform everyone what could happen if Title II is repealed and this gets out of hand. It could create a discussion and now you have a good idea of the ins and outs of Net Neutrality. The more we do as citizens, the better chance we will be able to keep the internet open for all.
Let’s make sure we don’t have to deal with any of this. Write a comment on FCC’s comment section following this link and click on “+ Express” to file a comment on the matter: gofccyourself.com
You can also call and write your representative in Congress and let them know that you support Net Neutrality and would like them to support us in retaining Title II.
(Forever Loading GIF courtesy of Fight for the Future [https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12/]