The Net Neutrality Debate Will Determine the Future of the Internet, What are You Going to do About it?

 

If you’ve been paying attention to the news in recent weeks, you’ve probably heard the term “net neutrality” thrown around quite a bit. And, depending on who’s talking about it, their definitions are usually contradicting and confusing. This blog post aims to simplify what’s going on with the subject, what the FCC’s recent ruling means to Internet users all around the world, and what you should do if you care about your online freedom.

What is Net Neutrality and Why Should You Care?

Net neutrality is the idea that governments and ISP’s should treat all data on the Internet the same. This means there should be no discrimination when it comes to users, content, websites, platforms, equipment, modes of communication, and pricing. Until now, this is how the Internet has operated in the United States and the majority of the world. With net neutrality in place, the Internet is the same for anyone that uses it.

Proponents of net neutrality believe Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the web. Most online and technology companies want an open Internet because they believe a third party should not be permitted to control what users access online. Most consumers also support net neutrality because they want to be able to communicate and conduct business without any interference.

Opponents of net neutrality believe that regulation is necessary in order to “protect” Internet users. Many cable and telecommunications companies want more rules in place that will filter content and degrade services based on certain standards. In a worst-case scenario, the Internet will become like cable television where users pay for the content they want to see. The current pricing model where consumers have a choice between different bandwidth speeds would be no more. Instead, it would be up to the ISP to determine how fast certain websites load and which ones you can access.

What is the Recent FCC Ruling and What Happens Next?

Yesterday, U.S. regulators approved to open for public comment net neutrality rules proposed by the FCC. For the next four months, the plan will be debated on both sides of the argument until they figure out a solution.

Under the FCC’s proposal, Internet providers would be banned from blocking or slowing down access to websites but will be allowed to charge content companies for faster and more reliable delivery of their traffic to users. On the surface, this seems like a win-win situation for both sides of the argument, but is it really?

If companies are allowed to pay for faster web traffic, smaller companies that can’t afford to pay the toll won’t be able to compete. This essentially divides the Internet into two groups: the “haves” and the “have nots,” but the FCC is adamantly denying there will be any attempt to segregate the World Wide Web.

“I will not allow the national asset of an open Internet to be compromised. The prospect of a gatekeeper choosing winners and losers on the Internet is unacceptable.”
–Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission

Consumer advocates don’t believe this is true and want to reclassify Internet providers as utilities, similar to telephone companies. Under this scenario, ISP’s will be subject to stricter control and would ban practices that obstruct consumers from getting equal access to online content – no matter what it is. Not surprisingly, ISP’s are against this because it will drastically limit their power.

Submit Your Comments to the FCC

The FCC wants to know what you think about their proposal. If you care about net neutrality, now’s your chance to speak up. People from all over the United States have wasted no time and thousands of comments have already been submitted. If you want to do the same, follow these steps:

  1. Go to fcc.gov/comments.
  2. Click on proceeding 14-28, “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet”.
  3. Fill out the form and let them know what you think.

“This is your opportunity to formally make your point on the record. You have the ear of the entire FCC. The eyes of the world are on all of us. Use your voice and this platform to continue to be heard.”
— Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn

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18 Responses to The Net Neutrality Debate Will Determine the Future of the Internet, What are You Going to do About it?

  1. Barry May 16, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    Federal Government: Keep your hands off the Internet. Keep it open. Don’t try to wrap up the idea that you’re being benevolent by saying it’s to protect. That is bullshit. It is to control. Censoring the Internet is the action of a communist nation. The very fact that it is even an issue in the United States should be of great concern for everybody. It’s terrifying.

    • Paula wolven May 16, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

      Leave it free

    • Barbara Hajduk May 18, 2014 at 9:24 am #

      Agreed – wholeheartedly. Leave it be.

  2. John May 16, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    Here was my brief comment.

    “I respectfully believe the FCC is in error in regard to Internet Neutrality.

    Simply, it is my belief the Internet cannot be neutral if entities can pay for faster and better access. Logically that means that the rest of us get inferior service to those that pay for superior service.”

  3. Some Dude May 16, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    This entire debacle is a sham. Either way they swing it, all that gets hurt are the general public. By reclassification you are looking at stricter government controls. By not reclassifying we allow large monopolies the ability to use unfair business practices in markets with little to no competition. What should happen is legislation that would encourage an open market by giving local government incentives to to build the infrastructure that would allow for new companies to either lay, rent, or purchase parts of a fiber system to spur competition. Its almost impossible for a new carrier to come around and build on the current structure without first taking over something thats already existent in many areas.

    • Some Dude May 16, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

      Also.. don’t expect to leave an annoymous posting on the FCC site. In order to give your opinion you have to give your name and address and leave it on a publicly accessible bulletin board with no availability to mask this information. Great thinking FCC, Way to really motivate people to speak their minds. Here is a dire topic that needs to be talked about, but the one forum that you choose to allow the voices to be heard is also a giant security risk.

      • Seiken May 16, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

        People should have the backbone to say what they believe anyway, Freedom of speech is our right still, Obama hasn’t taken that away yet. If we live in fear and don’t speak our minds then we have already invited their control into our lives. Americans need to wake up and remember who they are. Stop being afraid and stand up for yourselves.

        • Archie Warplight May 17, 2014 at 2:12 am #

          I like how ‘Obama’ has become synonymous with the entire elected government of the US… Like he makes all the laws and rules. K.

          In ANY event, I say let them censor it. it’ll happen once, and only once, and when then entirety of DC is in ruins from the people rioting, and the nation can start from scratch, then everybody wins.

          But seriously, throwing this control into the engine? Yeah, people will die. Probably en masse over it…

          Archie supports free internet, and free electricity. For everyone. and forever.

  4. Flaquita Johnson May 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    I just don’t want what happened to cable programming to happen to the internets.

  5. trey May 16, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

    Anyone that things they can say something to change the already made up minds of the government or the fcc, it’s not only naive, but ignorant. They will do as they wish, as they always have. What ever makes them more money, wins.

    • Craigory Montgomery May 17, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

      Learn to spell and then someone (maybe even the federal governernment) might take you seriously.

  6. Andrew Foster May 17, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    The internet shouldn’t be regulated. end of story… if they do end up regulating everything, they are going to **** off a lot of people….. A LOT of people…… and also… this doesn’t sound like someone caring about everyone’s equal rights, this sounds like someone taking advantage of people who complain about not having something they didn’t work for in the first place, to make money. Just saying

  7. Brandon May 17, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    They say they dp things to protect us but look around look at politics the internet should be free and if we dont fight to keep it free whats left of our democracy will fall to communistic people who are nothing but power hungry.

  8. Jay Wolfx (@jaywolfx) May 17, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

    Your services in this matter are neither required nor requested, see your way out the door, and don’t come back. This is the Peoples internet, we shall continue to govern it as we the individual user sees fit.

  9. That Guy May 18, 2014 at 6:31 am #

    The problem isn’t just this, The problem is all of the other freedoms we as Americans have given away to the Government, some in the name of “security”. Once you give up one freedom, It makes the rest that much easier.ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

  10. Tim Young May 18, 2014 at 7:56 am #

    Freedoms need to take precedent over safeties, lest you have a nation full of angry safe peiple eager to revolt. Federal government, you have been warned.

  11. Randy Bowen May 18, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    I know one thing if the internet gets filtered or anyway limited I will not use it will be a digital wasteland. Is this what you want to destroy the one thing that unites the world as a whole? I guess you can’t run anything else right so might as well screw up the internet. AT&T is the worst service provider I have ever seen and I can only imagine if they get free reign. Some people are in remote locations in the world and the internet is the only means they have to sell their products.

    This is what I sent to the FCC.

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