Did you know the FCC has been challenged to allow the Internet to no longer be open?
If you’re wondering what an “open Internet” or “net neutrality” means you’re not alone. Basically there was a law suit against the FCC’s stand on Internet guidelines. The cable and phone companies as well as other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) would like to be able to charge for “fast lanes” when accessing the internet. This would slow down (and break!) your favorite sites, for their profit.
Regular everyday citizens as well as business owners need to call on the FCC to establish a clear rule banning paid prioritization under any circumstances. Please send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a quote from an FCC article describing the Internet as we know it now and the results of the lawsuit (emphasis mine):
“…think of email, blogs, voice and video conferencing, streaming video, and online shopping. Once you’re online, you don’t have to ask permission or pay tolls to broadband providers to reach others on the network. If you develop an innovative new website, you don’t have to get permission to share it with the world.”
In the legal case against protecting these rights “The court upheld the transparency rule, but vacated the no-blocking and no-unreasonable-discrimination rules. The court also invited the FCC to act to preserve a free and open Internet.”
This means the federal court ruled that ISPs need to clearly tell us their terms (transparency) but that they are allowed to block content of their choice and discriminate against us and our sites. The kind of blocking we’re talking about here isn’t just for unacceptable content like child porn, sites promoting racial hate crimes and so forth. The ISPs can block sites that they feel use too much bandwidth so they earn more money from our Internet access fees with less use on our end simply because they blocked it so we couldn’t use it. The FCC needs to fight for our rights to keep an open internet where our phone companies and ISPs are unable to block our content or discriminate against what we can see, say and do on the internet. We need to stand up and tell the FCC we want them to protect our Internet access against discrimination and added tolls for preferential treatment which would result in slower access for those who don’t pay for that preferred treatment.
If you think your internet speed costs too much now imagine additional fees to access the online stores, social media and other sites we love on the internet. Having this legal decision go undefended by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will cause major issues for small businesses and will likely cause many internet sites to shut down.
This is an issue we all need to speak up on now. We need to comment on this with the FCC on or before Monday, Sept. 15th when the FCC closes the option to send them our feedback. We need to let them know we feel an open internet is crucial to our freedom of speech rights and that allowing phone companies and IPSs to charge additional fees is unacceptable.
You can find more information about this issue at http://www.fcc.gov/openinternet but the most important things you can do once you understand the issue are:
- email the FCC at email@example.com to let them know of your concerns
- contact your local and federal representatives and have them contact the FCC about your concerns
If you’re a business owner with a website or online store or if you have a blog or another site you want to protect then you can help spread the word by doing this:
- Wednesday, September 10th upload a badge alerting your customers / readers about the issue and provide them the tools to comment to the FCC. Here is a link you can use to get the tools to participate https://www.battleforthenet.com/sept10th/. It won’t slow your site down, it will just help spread the word before we don’t have the chance to comment anymore.
Here is a quote from a great article about this written by the CEO of Etsey and published at wired.com, “To be sure, the cable and phone companies are counting on our apathy. After all, businesses are often more conservative than activists and tend to not want to jump alone. But not this time. Our employees care, our communities are invested, and after months of progress, we now have a real shot at victory.”