People demonstrating in favor of net neutrality outside a fund-raiser for President Obama held in July. Photo courtesy of The New York Times, www.nytimes.com
Net Neutrality refers to the idea that all data on the internet should be treated the same and should be allowed the same speed as any other content. It’s an idea that many people believe should be law. Since the internet’s inception, people have had the ability to browse any website at a constant speed based upon the set speed of the internet service provider they chose. The same is still true today, but a growing number of people fear that this might change eventually. It is believed that, if laws are not made to enforce net neutrality, internet service providers might decide to contour their speeds so that businesses pay a higher rate for premium speeds while everyone else is relegated to a lower speed threshold.
Another fear is that certain types of data will be treated differently than others. For instance, ISPs could decide to charge an extra fee for full speed access to online entertainment such as Netflix much like cable companies charge extra fees for premium channels such as HBO or Cinemax. The FCC attempted to pass regulations to prevent these measures, but they chose the wrong means of doing so and had their rules shot down by the courts. Now, they’ve come up with a new set of rules, but many people still feel that these rules will be inadequate and won’t hold up in court much like the previous rule set. The FCC believes that these rules will maintain some form of net neutrality, but the reality is that they probably won’t be so successful.
The new rules don’t prohibit ISPs from slowing down speeds for certain users. They simply allow for users to issue complaints if they feel their speeds are being unfairly slowed. These complaints would then need to be investigated and the ISP would have to give reason why the slowing is justified. Basically, all the internet companies would need to do is provide a valid reason and the complaint would be invalidated. These rules don’t force the company to show ample proof for why they slowed the speed. For these reasons, many groups and individuals are still holding vigils and pushing for the FCC to make rules that will truly enforce net neutrality and keep the internet as it is so that anyone can enjoy it without undue restrictions. ISPs also want to get a cut from other websites such as social media, YouTube, gaming sites, etc in order to deliver their content to customers. Have a look at the below graphic to get a clearer picture of the internet now as compared to what it could be.
The only real way to protect and preserve net neutrality is for the FCC to reclassify internet access as a telecommunications service. This would allow the FCC to maintain a measure of control and keep the internet open and equal for all users. This can only happen with your help. Have a look at the resources below to see how you can join the fight and help make net neutrality not only the way the internet is but the way it always will be.
Contact the FCC
Send a Quick Comment to the FCC
While the agency’s official comment period ended on Sept. 15, the docket for comments remains open. Use this tool to craft a quick message and we will make sure it gets filed.
File a Detailed Comment with the FCC
- Go here to file your comment.
- Select the Open Internet docket (14–28). It’s right at the top.
- Enter your name and comment.
- To double your impact, email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pick Up the Phone
Call the FCC
Call the FCC commissioners and demand REAL Net Neutrality.
We need Congress to speak out about this now.
Write a Letter
Meet With Your Member of Congress
Learn More to Do More
Learn More About the Process at the FCC
This post provides helpful info about what happens next.
Have the Courage to Speak Out
To save the Internet over the long term, we need to speak out about everything from corporate-government collusion to invasions of our online privacy.