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Advocacy

Prepare to Pay More for Internet Content

In January, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit struck down the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Net Neutrality rules in Verizon v. FCC. This decision makes consumer use of the internet unknown, especially regarding how protected we are from the whims of internet service providers (ISPs). Keep in mind that over 70% of consumers have only one choice for their area.

Net Neutrality – and the internet as we know it - protects consumers from ISPs slowing down, degrading, and even blocking online content and access.

As an example, with the internet as we’ve known it (with Net Neutrality), if an ISP offers their own video on demand service, like Netflix, they have had to offer their own and others’, like Amazon Prime, at the same speed and allow consumers to access both for free. Without Net Neutrality, that ISP could block their competitor or degrade their service to the point it’s not usable. The ISP could also charge an arm and a leg to the consumer for access to one or both services. Net Neutrality evens the playing field and allows the creativity and growth we see online, both of which are unequalled in history.

The idea of Net Neutrality is to keep the internet a free and open platform for innovation and expression.

The FCC has been figuring out how to enact Net Neutrality within the confines of the court’s decision. The FCC Chairman just laid out their current plan, which unfortunately moves the goal posts, cutting protections and guaranteeing an unequal internet. The new rules are:

  1. That all ISPs must transparently disclose to their subscribers and users all relevant information as to the policies that govern their network;
  2. That no legal content may be blocked; and
  3. That ISPs may not act in a commercially unreasonable manner to harm the Internet, including favoring the traffic from an affiliated entity.

While the above is great, what it doesn’t address is the creation of a two tiered internet where content producers can pay for a faster internet, creating an uneven playing field and squashing the innovation we’ve seen over the last few decades. It leaves a barn sized double door open for ISPs to walk through to kill Net Neutrality.

If you don’t believe us, here are some links to numerous articles from tech sites saying the same thing - that this is a horrible idea!

If this passes, the definition of an “open internet” is, the more you pay up, the more open it can get. It will be a death knell for Net Neutrality. In the world where these rules exist it won’t be the content providers that pay, it’ll be us - the consumers.

In his 2008 campaign, President Obama promised to uphold Net Neutrality. Sadly, under his presidency, he’s given us the exact opposite.

Speak up now and write the FCC, Congress and the President and tell them to protect consumers and give us a true open internet.