Neal Cook, Front Rush
With the constant bombardment of news, you may have missed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote last Thursday to reverse the net neutrality rules that were put in place during the Obama administration.
When I say “net neutrality,” you probably yawned. It’s not a sexy term. But the implications of net neutrality are severe. Net Neutrality is the principle that your Internet Service Providers, also called ISP’s (like Verizon and Comcast), should provide access to all content and websites on the web, they should also never throttle or slow down sites that don’t pay more money for ‘faster service.’
Think of the internet, as we’ve known all of our lives, as an open road. All companies can freely travel down the same road, at the same speed, and no one is stopped and told to go back. Every website has the same chance to reach their end destination (your eyes).
Now instead of an open road, think of a smaller, suburban street and the highway above it. If your ISP’s had their way, they would be able to charge companies more money to have their website appear on the highway. If you were a smaller company or didn’t have the budget to pay for the highway, your website would be delegated to the slower, suburban street. Meaning, your website would be slow, and the visitors of your site would have slower service.
Maybe you’re a competitor of the ISP’s themselves. If the ISP’s don’t like you, they don’t have to offer you a chance to ride the local road or the highway. They’ll turn you around and say ‘no.’ So your company or website would be wiped off the internet.
The internet is the pathway to knowledge and change. No company should be able to limit the sites that you wish to access, or slow the speeds. Small businesses should not suffer because they do have the funds to pay for faster access.
By voting to rollback the net neutrality rules, the FCC, which is newly run by Ajit Pai (who is ironically a former Verizon lawyer), they are ceding to the lobbyists of these major corporations and pointing two middle fingers to the American people.
If you are passionate about the websites and the tools that you use online and do not wish to see these slowed down or blocked in the future, you can file a complaint on the FCC’s website here. You can also read up more at this site. Staying vigilant is one way we can preserve our freedoms.