I’m worried about the future of the internet. I’m worried that decisions taken by the US Court of Appeals and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will have far-reaching, and world-wide repercussions. I’m worried that if we don’t take a stance in support of net neutrality now, we’ll lose any chance of using our voices in the future.
The concern that I am feeling about the ongoing debacle between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Verizon has got me wanting to shout from the rooftop to try to get anyone, everyone to pay attention.
Wherever you live, regardless of whether you’re involved or not in technology, the US Net Neutrality ruling will affect you.
What exactly is going on with all this net neutrality talk?
Basically, the FCC are agreeing to Verizon’s (ISP) request to be allowed to charge bigger companies a premium for sending information to their customers. So Netflix (as an example) would have to pay Verizon a lot more money to stream the movies that we watch. Maybe not so bad when you think about it at first? But according to USA Today “Netflix may face an incremental $75 million to $100 million in annual content delivery costs.” Netflix will have to pass the additional charges onto its customers. But it doesn’t end just there.
One of the great things about the internet is how it provides a level playing field for everyone. Small business owners, individual bloggers, start-ups, big corporations, not-for-profit organisations- everyone has the same opportunity. The new rules, if Verizon have their way, will mean that they decide who gets the traffic- and you can bet your ass it’ll be the ones that Verizon can charge more money to.
Sit back and think about it. Think how this net bias will affect you. Think about what will you know if you’re only being given access the websites of the big company’s. The smaller sites and start-ups will be silenced by the fact that they cannot afford to pay the “hyper-speed lane” charges.
On April 2nd 2014, one of the “Fathers of the Internet” Vint Cerf held a Google Hangout to highlight his concerns about a whole host of internet issues, one of which being net neutrality.
You might think this isn’t going to affect you unless you’re based in the US, but the EU are also looking into net restrictions too. However, they’ll be under slightly different constraints due to varying member states laws. But once the precedent has been set in America, how long do you think it will take for similar rules to take hold everywhere?
And while your thinking about how long it’ll take for ISPs to become the masters of the internet, take some time to also think about all these people in your life.
Think about that friend/friend of a friend who started their own business using the power of the internet. The one who went from part-time passion to entrepreneur.
Think about the conversations that happen on small lesser known community websites, that people may never be exposed to. The millions of people world-wide who get online everyday and add their voices to events that affect them.
Think about all the cat videos you’ll miss out on!!
John Oliver’s video on YouTube explains many of the facets that are in play with this FCC net neutrality ruling.
If you care about keeping the internet free and open (as it was created to be), then stand up now and tell the “people in charge” that they do not have the right to inflict Verizon’s business plans on the world.
Add your voice to the many others today that are working to keep net neutrality and lets keep the internet a free and open world community. Email the FCC and make your voice heard : firstname.lastname@example.org
Or sign on to one of the many campaigns taking place online to get the FCC to reconsider this ruling.
There’s a ThunderClap campaign happening here.
There’s a Crowdtilt campaign happening here.
Wherever it is you choose to make your voice heard, just make sure that you are heard. Don’t sit by and ignore this net neutrality issue which will have major repercussions for the generations that will follow us.
The Internet was created as a free and open means of communication, don’t let governments and business take over just so they can make a bigger profit.
Do a search, watch a video, read what’s going on, but please form an opinion and voice it.