Internet Update: Is It the End of Net Neutrality?
Net neutrality- if you haven’t heard of it yet, now is the time to catch up! There is a high chance that the rules of the Internet and its providers are about to change, and it’s not necessarily a good thing. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) will soon take a vote to put an end to its existing net neutrality rules, which reverses the Title II classification of Internet providers. What does this all mean? As a digital marketing agency, we want to be fully up to date with anything Internet related, so let’s take a look.
Net neutrality is the principle that Internet providers such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T should not be allowed to control what we do and see online. Net neutrality regulations originated in 2015, when startups, Internet freedom groups, and 3.7 million commenters got the FCC to prohibit Internet providers from blocking, controlling, and requiring payment to increase or decrease site speeds. Now, these major providers want to end the FCC’s net neutrality rules to gain more control.
This will affect everyone from gamers, YouTube stars, and politicians to investors, startup founders, and anyone else who uses the Internet regularly. Basically, the general population is in support of net neutrality. If net neutrality ends, these providers can essentially intimidate sites into paying millions of dollars in exchange for quick site speeds. This will affect the American economy and average person due to the added taxes needed to make up for what sites are paying for speed, as well as the elimination of startups and small entrepreneurs who cannot afford the change.
So, back to the Title II classification of Internet providers. This allows the FCC to place these existing, strict limits on the providers’ behavior and would be replaced if the vote to end net neutrality goes through. The vote takes place on December 14th and is expected to pass.
Those in favor of the new proposal argue that it will stop the government from micromanaging the Internet and that service providers would have to be transparent about their practices. This would allow consumers to purchase the service plan that best suits them and their businesses. However, this offers no protection to consumers, as each company’s terms of service are meant to protect itself. And this will not change on a whim.
Supporters of net neutrality are already in fear of what is to come next month. The FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn said the new proposal, “Would dismantle net neutrality as we know it by giving the green light to our nation’s largest broadband providers to engage in anti-consumer practices, including blocking, slowing down traffic, and paid prioritization of online applications and services.”
It is important to understand that this possible change could be affecting you and your business. Consumers and smaller companies will lose out to larger players. Take Amazon and Etsy for example. Amazon has the ability to pay the big bucks if necessary, but Etsy will lose any voice is currently has. The same goes for a new streaming service going up against YouTube. Plus, providers like Comcast will begin pushing their content, such as NBC related shows, by making them stream faster.
ACLU policy analyst Jay Stanley shared similar thoughts to Mignon Clyburn saying, “Gutting net neutrality will have a devastating effect on free speech online. Without it, gateway corporations like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T will have too much power to mess with the free flow of information.”
There is a way you can help. Congress has the ability to stop the FCC from passing this new proposal, and they need to know how strongly the public feels against the Internet’s current fate. You can write and call Congress, or display an alert on your site that shows visitors what the web will look like without net neutrality. This won’t block, slow, or paywall your site and users can easily click away if they choose. It will simply let users contact their representatives in Congress without even leaving your page. You just need to add this line of code to the header of your site:
<script src=”https://widget.battleforthenet.com/widget.js” async></script>