Net Neutrality. It’s a term that’s being thrown around in the news, but what does it truly mean? I feel like it has not gotten the coverage that it deserves because of recent scandals and elections taking precedent (not that it’s a bad thing. Just needs some attention, too). I don’t want to say it’s flying under the radar, but I have not seen it being blasted on social media. I’ve seen more Terrence Howard “Mayne” memes that I have posts for Net Neutrality and folks, your memes could be in trouble without NN.
So I’ve been reading up on the matter and I’m going to do my best to dumb it down in a way that makes it easy to understand. It still confuses me, but I’ve been reading a bunch of articles and if you do that and share them on social media, then you’re automatically an expert in today’s society because people won’t question you unless you put up a Facebook status so yup, I’m an expert. I’ve come a long way from writing about toast and making videos about Thanksgiving Eve. It’s time to put on your thinking caps.
Let’s set the scene: On December 14, The Federal Communications Commission will vote Thursday on a measure that is going to affect the way the Internet is run. This includes the repeal of Net Neutrality.
The next question that you’re going to ask: What is net neutrality? Net Neutrality basically means that all data on the Internet must be treated equally by your Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Companies can’t block websites or slow / speed up your data on purpose with the intention to promote their own websites. Also, under Net Neutrality, ISPs can’t charge multiple prices and packages for different services and websites. So you can’t charge a package for video and a package for social media. It all falls under one price. So if you’re an Internet guy like myself, you WANT net neutrality. You are AGAINST the repeal. You with me still? Here’s a diagram that really simplifies the issue while getting its point across.
Here are some more examples to try and break it down. Imagine the Internet is an all-you-can eat buffet. You pay one price at the door and you get everything. Now imagine that buffet becomes a food court with various restaurants inside. Now, all of these restaurants are still delicious, but you were so used to the buffet before. Now, you have to pay for what you eat at each place. We want the buffet back and we want net neutrality.
Last example and it involves Netflix.
Elite Daily – One of the biggest risks with removing net neutrality protections is that ISPs could incentivize you to use — or not use — a particular website based on whether they’re getting financial kickbacks from it. Consider the merger AT&T and Time Warner are pushing for: This would mean a telecomm giant now owns CNN, HBO, and Warner Bros. Entertainment, among others. So if you’re trying to watch Netflix as an AT&T customer? Without net neutrality, AT&T could, potentially, charge you more to access Netflix or slow down the site’s loading speed in an attempt to get you to watch its own streaming service (HBO) instead.
Take a look at what a country’s Internet looks like without net neutrality.
I hate to break it to you, but I have the script in my hand and I know the ending on December 14. The vote to repeal net neutrality is going to pass. The FCC is made up of five commissioners appointed by the sitting president and it’s always 3-2 in favor of the president’s party. In this case, it’s a 3-2 Republican majority under Chairman Ajit Pai — and they’re all going to vote for the repeal unless something truly surprising happens.
There has been public outrage and many concerned citizens have expressed their opinions by sending letters to the FCC. However, Houston, we have a problem. They can’t determine if real people are sending these. A lot of them are from bots.
Wired – THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS Commissions’ public comment period on its plans to repeal net neutrality protections was bombarded with bots, memes, and input from people who don’t actually exist. The situation’s gotten so bad that FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, as well as several members of Congress, including one Republican, have called for the FCC to postpone its December 14 net neutrality vote so that an investigation can take place. The FCC seems unlikely to comply.
This vote on Thursday is not just about net neutrality. The FCC wants to be removed from the process of monitoring internet providers so they don’t abuse their power. The FCC wants the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to take over. The FTC might not be even allowed to do this because of an impending court decision. Huh? The FCC might be turning over their power of regulating Internet providers to the FTC, who may not even have legal authority to do this. So Internet providers would basically be unregulated. Great.
Maybe John Oliver can get your attention. I get that it’s long, but watch a few minutes because he’s been on this issue for more than 3 years so he’s much more knowledgeable and funnier than I am.
So are we fucked now? No, not entirely. Before I get to that, there’s always two sides to a story. The Internet is always going to thrive. That will never change. But to what extent? To read about an open Internet is not going anywhere even without net neutrality, click here.
Back to the previous question. Are we fucked? No, not entirely. Between protests and impending court cases, there are going to be appeals. A lot of appeals because this is such a landmark decision. However, change is going to happen, and it will be for the better or for the worse.
If you want to help, call Congress at 202-759-7766. Call the FCC. It takes a minute or two. Most likely going to be a voicemail. Also, voice your opinion in a letter. If you don’t want to help, then don’t. Free country. Just read about what’s going on and determine your own opinion.
Visit https://www.battleforthenet.com/ for more.
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