Protect the Internet by Defending Net Neutrality
If you hate this loading symbol,
then defend the
open and neutral
Internet we have now.
Sept. 10th is “Internet Slowdown“ Day. A day to bring attention to cable companies’ efforts to slow down certain websites and services, for profit.
To fight back, Battle for the Net has organized a campaign to cover the web with symbolic “loading” icons, to remind everyone what an Internet without net neutrality would look like, and to drive record numbers of emails and calls to lawmakers, including Congress, the White House, and the FCC.
The “Internet Slowdown” awareness starts at midnight September 10th and runs all day until 11:59 p.m., so, if you want to participate, do it during those times to make the biggest impact. More importantly, you can make your feelings known directly to the FCC by sending an email to email@example.com before September 15, 2014. So far they have received more than 1.1 million comments and only 1% oppose net neutrality, but it is still important that you add your voice to that cacophonic roar of support for an open, net neutral Internet.
The cable companies – Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable – are spending a fortune to eliminate net neutrality. If they win, they will be allowed to slow the Internet for any websites that don’t pay them arbitrary fees to provide the speeds we enjoy today. That means that only websites backed by large corporations or deep pockets will be palatable to an Internet consumer that has come to enjoy fast-loading websites’ photos and videos.
The average small business owner or start-up or blogger or school or student or artist or web content creator will not be able to compete for attention with companies that do have the ability to pay to have their website content provided to consumers at fast speeds. Likewise, even medium-sized companies that provide web content to consumers, like Netflix, will have to pay these fast-speed fees, if they want their content to stream glitch free and avoid losing customers. Ultimately, regardless of the company, the costs will be passed down to the consumer and we all lose.
Anecdotally, at home, we have already been experiencing problems with streaming content, ever since Netflix and Comcast began to battle it out. Before their battle began, we could watch movies and TV shows without any reloads or reboots, now, it is a surprise if we make it halfway through a movie without a glitch. What is frustrating is that we do pay Comcast a higher price for their fastest Internet speeds and we have our own high end routers and equipment.
We haven’t cancelled our Netflix service because it is clearly not their fault and ever since we cancelled our Comcast TV cable service a number of years ago, we rely on Netflix and Amazon for their streaming services. Unfortunately, we cannot cancel our Comcast Internet service because they have, for all intents and purposes, a monopoly in our area.
Can you imagine how much worse things would be if cable companies were legally sanctioned to dictate what Internet content, services and websites will get fast speeds and which will get slow speeds?
The cable companies are already making huge profits from consumers and content creators/providers who have little choice in who they can use to provide their Internet service. Most of us are consumers and creators to varying degrees, using the Internet for business and for fun. The Internet has become more of an integral part of our daily lives than even television and radio. The slice of the economic pie for these cable companies is ever getting larger. So why do they want to complicate things by slowing down the Internet for some websites and speeding it up for others? Clearly, they want to make even greater profits and they know they are the only game in town. It feels a little like extortion.
Are they fighting to get rid of net neutrality because they know how heavily dependent we have all become on the Internet for our entertainment and our livelihoods? Providing Internet service gives these cable companies a great deal of power to control content and use by controlling speed.
The Internet legislation they are pushing and pressuring lawmakers to pass is bad legislation. It serves only to further increase profits for cable companies. There is no benefit to the consumer. If it passes, some of your favorite websites may get relegated to the slow lane. If you are a content creator, be it a teacher, an artist, a photographer, a filmmaker, a small business owner, a student, a charity, or anyone who cannot pay the cable fees for speeds that will deliver your content, not only do you lose, we all lose.
We lose as consumers who have come to enjoy what the Internet provides: variety, originality, discovery, technology, creativity, connection and content from people just like us from around the world, or from different points of view. We lose as consumers of companies like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Roku, and others that provide access to streaming content for very low fees.
We all lose… except for the cable companies and the lawmakers that support them.
Who supports Net Neutrality and the Battle for the Net?
I do… and so do over a million other individuals who voiced their support to the FCC, and so do companies and organizations like the ones below:
Private Internet Access
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Center for Media Justice
Color of Change
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Fight for the Future
Free Press Action Fund
National Hispanic Media Coalition
Open Technology Instittue / New America Foundation
Voicers for Internet Freedom
What to do?
Join this growing list of defenders of the Internet and its neutrality. It is a fight for our rights and freedom; a fight to make legislators accountable to the public and the public interest; a fight against greed and power. A fight to keep the Internet open, by keeping cable companies from discriminating against different kinds of websites and services based on who can pay or who they like.
We have until September 15, 2014 to tell the FCC how we feel about this issue. Most supporters of net neutrality feel it comes down to this: ask the FCC to reclassify Internet access as a common carrier under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, providing similar protections afforded to the free broadcast of television and radio signals.
If you can, send the FCC an email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or write a blog post; or send a tweet; or talk to your friends and family about it; or find your own way to help defend an open, neutral Internet.
It may be a long shot, but it is a shot worth taking. If we don’t act now, it may soon be too late.
Martie Hevia (c) All Rights Reserved
LINKS & RESOURCES
- Fight for the Future:
- Battle for the Net:
- Internet Slowdown September 10, 2014:
- A Guide to the Open Internet:
- Net Neutrality:
- Title II of the 1934 Communications Act:
- Etsy CEO to Businesses: If Net Neutrality Perishes, We Will Too | Wired, September 4, 2014:
- Slow Comcast speeds were costing Netflix customers | CNN Money, August 29, 2014:
- Netflix-Comcast Battle Shows Net Neutrality Has Real Consequences | Billboard, August 29, 2014:
- After months of simmering tensions, the companies go public in their fight over the future of television | Time, April 22, 2014:
- Public Comment On Net Neutrality Is Drawing To A Close, But The Debate Still Heats Up | Red Orbit, September 4, 2014:
- 99 Percent of Comments to FCC Favor Net Neutrality: Study| NBC News, September 3, 2014:
- FCC’s Open Internet Comments Overhwelmingly In Favor of Net Neutrality | Billboard, September 3, 2014: http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/6236675/net-neutrality-comments-dominate-fcc-open-internet
- What can we learn from 800,000 public comments on the FCC’s net neutrality plan? | Sunlight Foundation, September 2, 2014:
- Google Backs Netflix in Epic Battle With Comcast | Wired, May 22, 2014:
- Comcast Affiliated News Outlet Censored My Article About Net Neutrality Lobbying | Republic Report, August 1, 2014:
What is net neutrality?
Net Neutrality is the Internet’s guiding principle: It preserves our right to communicate freely online.
Net Neutrality means that the cable/telecom companies must provide us with open networks — and should not block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks. Just as your phone company cannot decide who you could call and what you say on that call, your ISP should not be concerned with what content you view or post online.
Net Neutrality is what enables the Internet to be such a hotbed for innovation. If you bring a new service online, the cable/telecom companies should deliver it just like they’d deliver content from a corporate behemoth like Google or NBC.
Net Neutrality is what gives every startup the same chance to reach customers and users as any existing company. Simply, without Net Neutrality, startups and small business will be subject to discrimination based on a pay-to-play Internet, and the open Internet and the economic growth it has represented will be at risk.
What are we fighting against?
On May 15, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission proposed rules that would permit rampant discrimination online, undermining Net Neutrality. The FCC’s proposal would be a huge boon for the cable companies and would undermine the Internet as we know it.
Under the proposed rules, cable giants like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon would be able to create a two-tiered Internet, with slow lanes (for most of us) and fast lanes (for wealthy corporations that are willing pay fees in exchange for fast service).
Cable companies would have the power to discriminate against online content and applications — they could pick winners and losers, shake sites down for fees, block content for political reasons, and make it easier for Internet users to view cable content. (For instance, Comcast owns NBC, and so has incentives to make it easier to view NBC content than that of other providers.)
What are we fighting for?
After public outcry, the FCC left the door open for the only proposal that can preserve Net Neutrality: reclassifying Internet access as a “common carrier” under Title II of the Communications Act.
Anything other than Title II is an attack on our rights to connect and communicate.
The FCC has opened up a comment period for us to weigh in on its proposal, but it ends on Sept. 15. After that, the FCC will deliberate and decide what, if any, new rules to issue — likely before the end of the year.
What does the other side say?
The other side — mostly, the cable companies — wants the right to control how you access content, and they’ll say and do just about anything to try to make sure they can pick and choose which sites will get preferential treatment.
To enforce their will, they’re employing every trick in the book: They’ve bought armies of lobbyists, set up fake grassroots groups, and donated millions of dollars to politicians. And they make things up.
First, they wrongly claim that Title II will reduce investment in infrastructure, but they have no evidence. They also claim that the FCC can ensure Net Neutrality without using Title II. That’s also false. In fact, Title II is the only way to ensure real net neutrality.
How will we win?
We’ll win by making sure that those in power understand that the American people overwhelmingly support Net Neutrality and that America’s growing Internet economy requires Net Neutrality to thrive.
More than 4 million people have already spoken out in support of Net Neutrality — more than have ever weighed in on an issue in front of the FCC — and upwards of 99% of us are on the same side!
While more elected officials are taking up our cause, including President Obama, we need to keep up the pressure through the fall if we’re going to win.
The cable companies are powerful and vicious and they won’t back down. Neither can we. Join the Internet Slowdown on September 10.
*Adapted in part from posts by Free Press Action Fund and others. Please click here for more comprehensive information: http://www.savetheinternet.com/net-neutrality-what-you-need-know-now
[Excerpt from: https://www.battleforthenet.com/]