Today is the day MANY websites across the internet including Geek Alabama will participate in the Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality. Yes, there have been protests before, but this one is the most serious protest yet as the FCC will vote on removing Net Neutrality rules in only a few days!
“Net Neutrality” is the simple but very powerful principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. Whether you’re reading a blog post on Geek Alabama, streaming Game of Thrones on HBO GO, or browsing handcrafted tea cozies on Etsy, your Internet service provider delivers the Internet to you at the same speed, without blocking, throttling, or charging extra tolls based on the content you’re viewing.
Net Neutrality gives all online businesses, large and small, a chance to reach customers and succeed. It also protects important free speech rights online by prohibiting Internet providers from slowing or blocking sites or messages they don’t agree with. Net Neutrality means an Internet where businesses, products, and ideas thrive or fail based on their own merit — not on whether they have a preferred deal in place with a broadband service provider.
Internet providers like Comcast & Verizon should not control what we see and do online. In 2015, startups, Internet freedom groups, and 3.7 million commenters won strong Net Neutrality rules from the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The rules prohibit Internet providers from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—”fast lanes” for sites that pay, and slow lanes for everyone else.
Nearly everyone who understands and depends on the Internet supports Net Neutrality, whether they’re startup founders, activists, gamers, politicians, investors, comedians, YouTube stars, or typical Internet users who just want their Internet to work as advertised—regardless of their political party. Want to learn why Net Neutrality is that important, watch these two videos below from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver where he explains in great and funny details why Net Neutrality is that important!
Net Neutrality says we get the *entire* web without interference – no gatekeepers, no tollbooths, no slowlanes. You don’t like sitting behind a slow poke on the highway who won’t move over. Without Net Neutrality, you can expect to sit behind the digital slowpoke on the internet highway. This is why it is considered the First Amendment of the Internet. It protects our free speech in the digital age. Without strong protections, Cable and phone companies like Comcast, Charter, AT&T, and Cable One would be able to:
- Slow video streaming sites, causing your videos start and stop unexpectedly.
- Add you new fees to your Internet bill. Imagine paying extra for YouTube!
- Censor videos or content they don’t agree with, like political blogs.
- Throttle any new sites or apps they don’t own or invest in.
- Make your connection painfully slow, and charge you more to make it work again.
- Force streaming sites like Spotify into a slow lane, causing them to buffer constantly.
- Slow online gaming. Call of Duty would lag and glitch without paying more to your ISP.
- Charge big sites special “prioritization fees” and slow down everyone else.
- Take you out of the driver’s seat, and control what you see and hear online.
- Make the Internet look a lot more like cable TV.
- And, worst of all, become the first gatekeepers of the Internet in US history.
Net Neutrality is not a partisan issue. Regardless of your political views are or who you voted for, everyone who knows what Net Neutrality is supports it. And poll after poll confirms this across party lines. Without Net Neutrality, the government will give cable and phone companies free rein to shake down Internet users and websites for more money. And the ripple effects will be felt for years. An entire generation of innovators have built their careers on the open web. With Net Neutrality in place, you just need a good idea and a decent connection to reach millions.
Without Net Neutrality, the Internet would look a lot more like cable TV, where the content you see is what your cable provider is paid to put in front of you. We all know how much we hate dealing with the cable company over cable TV, now imagine hating your cable or telecom company over horrible internet speeds. This could become an reality if the Net Neutrality rules go away.
Cable and telecom companies are lobbying the FCC and Congress to end Net Neutrality. Why? It’s simple: if they win the power to slow sites down, they can bully any site into paying millions to escape the “slow lane.” This would amount to a tax on every sector of the American economy. Every site would cost more, since they’d all have to pay big cable. Worse, it would extinguish the startups and independent voices who can’t afford to pay. If we lose Net Neutrality, the Internet will never be the same.
To help fight these greedy idiots who wants to control the internet and make it worse forever, today (July 12) is an Internet-wide day of action in support of Net Neutrality. Many websites from Netflix, Reddit, Twitter, Etsy, Kickstarter, Automattic, Vimeo, Thinkgeek, and many more sites are participating in this Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality. If you share our love of the free and open Internet and want to join the fight to preserve it, please join in! And it’s very simple to add your voice in support of Net Neutrality!
Go to https://www.battleforthenet.com/#bftn-action-form and fill out a simple form that will send an letter to the FCC and your local Congressman. You can even customize your letter and say whatever you want!
You can also submit your own letter to the FCC website which will be public record. Go to https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/search/proceedings?q=name:((17-108)) and click on new filing on top to submit your letter on supporting Net Neutrality!
The FCC will decide the fate of Net Neutrality in only a few days! We the internet can have a say on helping to stop the stupid removal of these rules. Even if the FCC decides to strip Net Neutrality, there will be a LONG court fight ahead to keep these vital rules.
Here is the letter I have submitted to the FCC:
I am writing to the FCC to express my concerns about Net Neutrality. Let’s get straight to the point, allowing the internet providers with ways to charge websites to allow a so called “fast lane” will be very bad for consumers, businesses, and everyday people. You know what is going to happen if Net Neutrality is taken away? Our internet will become like cable, and we will have to pay money to access news sites. Pay more money to access our social media sites. Pay even more money to access our video sites, and so on.
The internet providers are only looking for ways to make even more money and become greedier, like what they have done with cable. Just like in cable TV, an internet provider could get into a contract dispute with a website like Facebook or Twitter, and if a deal is not reached, the internet provider can block the site. And in many communities, you only have one choice for an internet provider, so if Facebook or Twitter is blocked, you are out of luck!
I run a popular website in the south called Geek Alabama, which is run off of WordPress. If Net Neutrality is taken away, I do not have the money to pay the internet providers to get on a “fast lane.” And many blogs, websites, and small businesses don’t have the funds either. I am asking you keep and continue to re-classify the internet providers as a “public utility” and keep the internet open, free, and fast for everybody, no matter how much money each person has. America needs to get back to their helping others, small business roots, and quit catering to very large companies who only cares about making a buck. Thank you for reading!