By: Morgan Hill | IDYD, President
The FCC is close to making a decision that could impose new regulations allowing Internet Service Providers (ISP) to build more fast lanes and have the power to impose paid prioritization over online content. If you engage in large multimedia streaming, play online games, conduct e-commerce, maybe you do a lot of bandwidth-heavy work on the cloud…you will pay a heavy price.
President Obama came out in support of Net Neutrality, stating that the internet has not only evolved into a form of essential mass communication, but that it should remain free and open. On the other hand, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a self described champion of freedom, liberty and small government is calling net neutrality “Obamacare for the internet”. Sen. Cruz is implying that the government would have control over the flow of information and how much you pay for it. This is simply NOT true. Opponents of Net Neutrality have also argued that they would never limit the streaming of information to consumers. Evidence has already proven the contrary in the Netflix vs. Comcast battle. Netflix was forced to pay billions to Comcast in order to avoid continued bandwidth throttling of its services. Ultimately, not only did Netflix suffer losses in revenue and subscribers, viewers now have higher subscription rates to look forward to. Data Discrimination and Content Filtering have gone as far as imposing overage fees on peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic, online gaming, increased charges for multimedia use and disproportionate pricing standards based on the platform used for internet access.
To be fair, there are cases where the practice of Data Discrimination and Content Filtering advocated by ISP companies are acceptable. Three good examples that immediately come to mind are the ability to filter out and shut down financial fraud, child pornography and terrorist activities online. It can be an important tool in maintaining public safety in the cases I mentioned and much more. What is not acceptable is an ISP company with the ability to create paid prioritization on content that all Americans should have open access to.
We already live in a country where people who are limited by geography, technological capability and low income do not have equal access to the internet. If the FCC does not reclassify the internet as a utility, free speech and open information will no longer be delivered without discrimination. This will further isolate already heavily disconnected communities that cannot afford to be burdened with an additional barrier to modern communication.
It is the civic duty of every American to stand up for what is right, and to let the FCC know that we want a free and open internet. Self interested corporations should not have the upper hand in determining what information we can access. Make your voices heard today by signing the petition linked below, and we will send your signatures along with millions of others in support of Net Neutrality to the FCC.