Why Cord Cutters and Internet Lovers alike need to Fight for Net Neutrality
An issue in the news recently that I think bears addressing is Net Neutrality. If you’re a little confused about what that term means; don’t feel bad. There is a lot of vested interest when it comes to the issue of Net Neutrality, which consequently leads a lot of interpretations of what that term means.
Essentially, Net Neutrality is the concept that all information shared over the internet deserves to be treated equally and that no corporation or government has the right to deliberately slow down that data.
Now here’s why that’s important: For many years large internet service providers, like Comcast and Time Warner, have been accused of and caught deliberately slowing down websites and services. For example, Comcast deliberately slowed down Netflix for its customer until Netflix paid the company a higher fee. After a few weeks, Netflix folded and gave in; and the magically the download speed returned to normal.
Even worse, internet providers have also considered implementing data caps for home internet use like cell phone providers. Imagine not being able to watch Hulu or check Facebook because you used up your monthly 10 gigabytes of data; it would be terrible.
Furthermore, imagine as a consumer having to pay extra just to be able to watch a few more shows or movies a month. Imagine as an entrepreneur having to pay more just so your website can load as fast as the other corporate conglomerations. Imagine a world where free expression is paid for by the minute, and that the breadth of your word is constricted by the width of your wallet.
I don’t know about you, but that’s not the world I want to live in.
Stupid stunts like those pulled by Comcast are precisely the reason why many internet advocates have been pushing for federal laws to be passed to protect Net Neutrality. Aside from making online streaming all around crappy and terrible, data caps and slowed internet would blunt the free exchange of ideas and information; which is counter to the founding principles of our nation.
Recently, the FCC issued a ruling affirming Net Neutrality and mandating that the internet be treated like any other utility. What that means is internet service providers would be subject to more regulatory oversight. Better yet, that means that internet providers will be held more accountable for their actions than ever before.
That’s not to say you’ll get better service from the likes of Comcast, but at least they can’t throttle websites anymore.
However, there is a movement in Congress right now currently aimed at undermining the FCC ruling. HR 1106 is a bill aimed at essentially gutting the FCC ruling and giving cable/internet providers carte blanche to do as they please. No matter what side of the aisle you stand on, I think we can all agree that we don’t want the likes of Comcast or Time Warner Cable to do what they want.
If you want a fair and free internet, then I would seriously urge you to contact your elected representative and tell them that you don’t want internet slow lanes and spotty streaming just because Comcast wants an extra dollar. You can also go to https://www.fightforthefuture.org/ and follow the battle for net neutrality from there.
The next few years will help shape the next century of internet use; and if you don’t want your streaming to stop then this is one issue you can’t look away from.