Team Cable vs. Team Internet
Cable companies are famous for high prices and poor service. Several rank as the most hated companies in America. Now, they’re attacking the Internet—their one competitor and our only refuge–with plans to charge websites arbitrary fees and slow (to a crawl) any sites that won’t pay up. If they win, the Internet dies.
You may have heard the term ‘net neutrality’ in the news lately, but today is the perfect day to make sure you understand exactly what it means.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today is the ‘Internet Slowdown.’ Battle for the Net has called on everyone who wants to participate. visit their website to know how.
We put the modal up on our site today because we are passionate about this issue!
A lot of this text is taken from the Battle for the Net website, where you can find informative videos and other ways to join in the activity.