We all take net neutrality for granted. Never once do we stop and consider than Netflix streaming is slow because our cable provider has been paid by Amazon for example. In fact, once we obtain our Internet connections, most of us don’t even think about our ISP anymore. And why should we? In today’s world, the Internet is a utility just like electricity – the only questions we need to worry about are:
- Connection speeds;
And that’s the fundamental principle of net neutrality. As of now, your ISP is legally obligated under Title II of the Communications Act to not discriminate against Internet traffic based on content. In fact, when the FCC tried to create a “fast and slow lane” system by allowing ISPs to show preferential treatment to Internet traffic, there was a nationwide protest involving all stakeholders. A viral clip by the comedian John Oliver went viral and led to the FCCs website crashing due to the sheer number of commenters who supported robust net neutrality under Title II.
So the Internet won, and we saved the day. But not for long.
Plans to Reverse Title II Regulations
The new FCC chairman Ajit Pai however has vocally opposed net neutrality on several occasions, preferring instead for ISPs to come to a “verbal agreement” on the non discrimination of Internet traffic by putting it in their terms of service. John Oliver rebutted this entire argument once again in another clip on the 7th of May 2017, showing the absurdity of allowing ISPs to police themselves:
Pai’s new proposals would effectively eliminate Net Neutrality by no longer regulating ISPs under Title II of the Communications Act.
This would be disastrous. ISPs have repeatedly demonstrated time and again that they are happy to block competing services on their network when given the opportunity. When the iPhone first came out 10 years ago, AT&T famously refused to allow Skype or VoIP calls from it that used mobile data instead of WiFi. They showed the same reluctance to allow Google Voice services to work seamlessly on mobile phones.
The loss of net neutrality would be particularly deadly for rural areas that have limited or no competition whatsoever. Despite Pai’s assertions that we can trust ISPs to “do the right thing” and not give into the temptation to show preferential treatment to their own services, history shows us otherwise. Which is why it’s critically important for the public and all other stakeholders to come together once more and register our protest.
“Day of Action” on Neutrality on 12th July 2017
The catastrophic consequences of the loss of net neutrality has caused all stakeholders to coalesce around 12th July 2017 as a protest day to demonstrate to the FCC the amount of opposition that exists. Websites like Reddit, Netflix, Twitter, Mozilla, Medium and Amazon will all display warnings and educational messages on their front pages.
If you want to sign up, you can do so at this website: https://www.battleforthenet.com/july12/
The sheer size of the upcoming protest is sure to send a strong message to politicians who are willing to roll back regulations in order to please telecom companies. Title II is currently the strongest legal foundation we have United States that ensures a fair and open Internet. Its loss will be a disaster.
So if you have a website, show your support on the 12th of July by using one of the many graphics and messages provided in the link above. It’s an important fight, and one which will decide the future of how we view the Internet.
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