When you go on the internet you have certain expectations. You expect to be connected to whatever site you desire. You expect that your cable or telephone company isn’t messing with the information and is linking you to all sites, content and applications you choose. You expect to maintain control of your internet experience.
When you use the internet you expect Net Neutrality.
Web Neutrality is the simple principle that prohibits net service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from speeding up, slowing down or blocking any content, applications or websites you want to use. Web Neutrality is the way in which the internet has ever worked.
In 2015, millions of activists forced the Federal Communications Commission to adopt historical Net Neutrality rules that keep the internet open and free — allowing you to share and get information of your choosing without hindrance. At the end of the summer, the bureau was bombarded with over 20 million comments. The vast majority of individuals commenting urged the FCC to preserve the current Net Neutrality rules.
What is Net Neutrality?
Net Neutrality means an internet that empowers and protects free speech. It means that ISPs should supply people with open networks — and shouldn’t obstruct or discriminate against some other content or applications that ride over those networks. Just as your phone company should not determine who you call and what you say on that telephone, your ISP should not interfere with the information you see or post online.
Without Internet Neutrality, cable and phone companies could split the net into slow and fast lanes. An ISP could slow down its rivals’ content or block political remarks it appeared with. ISPs could charge extra fees for the couple of content companies that could afford to cover preferential treatment — relegating everyone else into a lower tier of support. This would destroy the open internet.
What would happen if we dropped Internet Neutrality?
The internet without Internet Neutrality is not really the internet. Unlike the open net that’s paved the way for so much invention and also given a platform to individuals who have historically been shut out, it would become a closed-down network in which cable and the telephone businesses call the shots and decide which websites, content or software succeed.
This would have an enormous impact. Firms like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would be able to decide who’s heard and that isn’t. They’d be able to block websites or articles they don’t enjoy or software that competes with their own offerings.
The consequences would be particularly devastating for social press outlets have misrepresented or failed to function. People of colour, the LGBTQ community, native peoples and religious minorities in the United States rely upon the open net to organize, access economic and educational opportunities, and fight back against systemic discrimination. How would the next disruptive technology, company or business emerge if internet service providers simply let incumbents succeed?
Didn’t we already win strong Net Neutrality rules?
Yes. Following a decade-long battle over the future of the internet, the FCC adopted strong Net Neutrality rules according to Title II of the Communications Act, giving internet customers the strongest protections possible.
But ever since then opponents have done everything they can to ruin Net Neutrality. And Chairman Pai — a former Verizon attorney — is moving fast to destroy the open net. He has to be stopped.Why is Title II so significant? Courts rejected two before FCC attempts to craft Net Neutrality rules and advised the bureau that if it wanted to embrace such protections it needed to utilize the appropriate legal basis: Title II. In February 2015, the FCC did this, providing internet users with the strongest possible Net Neutrality rules when it reclassified broadband services as common carriers under Title II. Title II gives the FCC the authority it has to make sure that businesses like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon cannot block, throttle or otherwise interfere with web traffic. Title II keeps the internet’s level playing field, allowing people to share and access information of their own choosing. These rules have ushered in a historic era of online investment and innovation — and also have withstood two court challenges from industry.
However, Chairman Pai needs to ditch Title II and reunite the FCC to a “light touch” Title I strategy. Translation: Pai wants to provide control of the world wide web to the very businesses that violated Net Neutrality for years prior to the FCC adopted its current rules in 2015. Title I’d do nothing to protect internet users like you.Who is attacking Web Neutrality? Big phone and cable companies and their lobbyists filed suit almost once the Net Neutrality principles were adopted. Free Press jumped in and helped argue the case protecting the FCC — and on June 14, 2016, a federal appeals court upheld the open-internet protections in most respects. On the other hand, the ISPS are still trying to challenge these principles in court.Meanwhile, industry-funded Net Neutrality competitions in Congress have done everything they can to dismantle or undermine the rules. Legislators have introduced several deceptive bills and connected damaging riders to must-pass government-funding bills.
The open net enables people of colour to tell their own stories and organize for social and racial justice. When activists have the ability to turn out tens of thousands of men and women in the streets in a minute’s notice, it’s because ISPs aren’t allowed to block their messages or websites.The mainstream press have long misrepresented, ignored and hurt individuals of colour. And thanks to systemic racism, economic inequality and runaway media consolidation, people of color own just a handful of broadcast channels. The lack of diverse ownership is a main reason why the media have gotten away with criminalizing and otherwise stereotyping communities of colour.
The open net allows people of colour and other vulnerable communities to skip traditional media gatekeepers. Without Net Neutrality, ISPs can block speech and prevent dissident voices from speaking publicly online.
Without Internet Neutrality, people of colour would lose a crucial platform.And without Internet Neutrality, countless small businesses owned by people of colour wouldn’t have the ability to compete against bigger corporations on the internet, which might deepen economic disparities.
Why is Web Neutrality important for businesses?
Net Neutrality is crucial for small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs, that rely on the open net to launch their businesses, create markets, promote their services and products, and reach clients. We want the open net to boost job growth, competition and innovation.
Net Neutrality reduces the chances of entrance by maintaining the net’s level and fair playing field. It is due to Internet Neutrality that small businesses and entrepreneurs have been able to thrive online.No company should be allowed to interfere with this open market. ISPs are the net’s gatekeepers, and without Internet Neutrality, they’d seize every possible opportunity to profit from this gatekeeper position.Without Net Neutrality, the next Google or Facebook would not get off the floor.