Today Is The Day of Action to Help Save Net Neutrality


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!

-Nathan Young
GeekAlabama.com

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The FCC Passes Tough Net Neutrality Rules But The Fight Is Not Over


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Well, it finally happened.  Today the FCC passed new tough rules to impose strict new regulations on Internet service providers (cable companies).  Internet Service Providers including landline and mobile carriers, will now be subject to stringent oversight on how they handle data that flows over their networks. The regulation will prevent the companies that operate the internet’s infrastructure from striking deals to give preferential treatment to content providers.  That means no more having companies pay money to be placed on some so called “fast lane.”  And before you start criticizing me, most modern and advanced countries in the world regulates the internet providers.

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The new rules reclassify broadband internet under Title II of the Communications Act, meaning the companies will be now regulated in a manner similar to utilities.  But ISP’s will not be subject to certain parts of Title II regulation, such as price controls and forced sharing of infrastructure.  As most on the internet are celebrating, some are already criticizing the new rules.  And you know this fight is not over!  Because those cable companies are already getting ready to take the FCC to court, or bribe some members of Congress to get new legislation passed.  Why do I believe the cable companies knows what’s best for the internet?  I mean, our local cable company Cable One can not even provide us with a decent internet speed.

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Some are even calling this Obamacare for the internet, or Obamanet.  Some are even quoting a Ronald Reagan quote when he said “I am from the Government and here to help.”  I mean, I am sorry if some of you out there are offended by this news today.  But most of the internet, and most of the geeks and nerds, are applauding this move!  For starters, the new rules keeps internet providers from forcing small businesses to pay access fees to compete with large corporations.  Meaning I can’t be slowed down because Geek Alabama can not pay huge fees to stay on the fast lane, while another site like The Anniston Star pays those fees to stay on a fast lane.  It also stops corporations from being able to block access by paying off providers.

Second, without net neutrality, companies would be able to package the internet up and sell it the same way that the cable company sells you stations.  How many people enjoys that today?  Would you like to purchase the internet with the Google, Ebay, and Amazon upgrade? Well that will be an additional $10 a month. Oh, you want to be able to access Netflix, well that puts a strain on the network, so we’ll require an additional $20 for that and I see you have two computers that game in your home so that will be an additional $20 right there.  This already happens with cable, and for now it won’t happen with the internet.

I am on the boat saying that net neutrality is a very good thing.  Without it the internet companies can charge you more to use sites like Facebook and the price of using Netflix monthly could increase dramatically. The new rules takes the internet away from big business/corporations and allows it to remain free and open the way it has been. Do you like the Internet the way it is? Good, because that’s what this bill does is allows it to stay that way.

Without net neutrality you would have corporations packaging the internet up and selling it to you at the highest bidder. It would be throttled and only those that could pay the most money would get the best positions. The new rules would allow any mom and pop organization to have an online presence.  If you want to start a business online, you can! All you have to do is build a website and start selling things or services.  It allows that one time American Dream of being a possibility.  Without Net Neutrality, sadly corporations can force small businesses to the background or closure the way Walmart does to small businesses when it enters a town. This keeps things fair and equal.

Originally, the rules were supposed to be very different!  But then John Oliver came to the rescue with that Net Neutrality video.

I commented to the FCC along with millions of other people.  To be fair, I am not against the cable companies, they do some good things.  But they have shown in the past about how greedy they can be and how much poor service they can provide.  Yes, the new rules might slow down new high speed internet access to people who don’t have it.  But most people does not want the internet to become the wild, wild west of the tech world where the cable company is the sheriff, and everyone must bribe the sheriff to get their way.  And for fun, Verizon who sued the FCC to begin with, issued a press release in a 1930’s style typewritten press release.  They also did it in Morse code, I call them sore losers, as most of the internet is doing as well.

And yes, the fight is far from over!  There are going to be more lawsuits and backroom deals with lawmakers to stop these new rules.  But one thing is for sure, if the courts overturns the net neutrality rules.  Or if Congress passes legislation stopping these new rules.  And if the cable companies change the internet forever with slower speeds and more costs, the internet is going to go into revolt!  And it will be a very ugly time in America!

Sunday Discussion: My Letter To The FCC About Net Neutrality


Geek Alabama Discussion

On this Sunday Discussion, on a Monday, I am catching up!  I am talking about my recent letter to the FCC about Net Neutrality.  As you know, the FCC is thinking about changing the rules and the new rules would allow the internet providers to charge certain companies to be put on a “fast lane”, which is wrong!  Last Week Tonight with John Oliver explained the Net Neutrality situation perfectly!

Now, before the deadline passed last Friday, I wrote my own letter to the FCC opposing the end of Net Neutrality and reclassifying the internet providers as a “public utility” since the internet has become so crucial in today’s life.  We will learn of the decision from the FCC by the end of the year.  But for now, enjoy my letter 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 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!

-Nathan Young
GeekAlabama.com

The Evening Post: Net Neutrality: Is the Internet a Public Utility


Geek Alabama Evening Post

You knew that PBS Idea Channel would talk about Net Neutrality, and in their recent video, they have!  Host Mike Rugnetta talks about if the internet is a public utility.  This topic (aka Net Neutrality) has made everyone think about the important role the internet plays in our lives. So, is internet access so important that it should be classified as a public utility or common carrier, like water & electricity, or public buses, and subways?  Watch the video and see what Mike thinks.  And for a side note, this video does not necessarily reflect the views of PBS or its member stations.  All thoughts and opinions presented are the province of Mike Rugnetta.  I would not want to get Alabama Public Television in trouble!