The new Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai recently proposed the repeal of net neutrality and its rules Tuesday, Nov. 21, with the main vote for the repeal taking place Dec. 14 of this year.
First, what is net neutrality? Think of it like an open road. If you have internet, you are probably getting it from a provider like Charter, Verizon, Comcast, etc. These telecoms build an open road for “cars” such as Google, Facebook, Instagram and other apps, where they cannot pick and choose which websites or apps load faster and slower. This means that, whether you are going to Twitter or a mom-and-pop local business website, both will load at the same rate, providing equal access to everyone. Thanks to President Obama’s FCC ruling in 2014, internet is to be treated as a utility for the public, not a luxury.
With this potential repeal, telecoms could then choose which websites and content to give us access to, depending on ties and who pays more that to get into that “fast lane.” For example, if someone had Verizon and Verizon chose to favor Netflix, Netflix will load with no problem. However, if someone with this access wanted to go use Hulu, speeds would throttle, resulting in slower load time or no load time at all. Like countries such as Portugal, this could mean buying additional packages just to run other sites that are not favored, instead of one price for everything.
If net neutrality is repealed, it will be the end of an open and free internet. Instead of paying one price for access to everything, consumers will only have access to certain websites depending on the Internet provider. It has the potential to limit, to charge and to censor content. While telecoms argue that they should be in charge of controlling this road, it will only benefit them in the long run. It will then hurt consumers that cannot pay the providers for consumers to access their sites, such as a local-run website.
To the left is a graphic of the FCC leadership team, including Chairman Pai and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, Michael O’Rielly, Brendan Carr and Jessica Rosenworcel, and their contact information. Call and email them, along with your congressmen, that we will not stand for our internet to be limited and controlled.
We at The Pacer want the internet to be open and free to everyone. This is not a political issue, this is a freedom issue.
(Graphic Credit/ Justin Lagace)