Net neutrality is a difficult issue to explain…just the jargon used to name it sounds geeky and technical.
It goes like this:
Right now you can access and enjoy about any content you like without paying your Internet provider for anything more than a wireless connection. This is because providers are required to treat all Internet data equally. They’re not allowed to block, slow down, or charge money for specific websites or online content, and they can’t discriminate between or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. This is the current law.
We could define it as “freedom of speech in the digital age.”
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is being pressured to make that stop. ISPs and other interested parties want to make MORE money on you and on your viewing habits. What will happen when network neutrality goes away is that, as with the formerly free television shows you now have to pay to view, you will have to pay to visit your favorite sites, such as Facebook. Website owners will have to pay to keep their sites from being throttled (slowed down).
Small websites, such as Funny about Money, will go away. So will many entrepreneurial projects that are founded and operated through the Internet. Competition will diminish. The free flow of information will stop. Ignorance will spread — and as you know, we already have more than enough of that. And you will have less choice — possibly no choice — in the kind of entertainment you access on the Web. Sites will load slowly or not at all, and your favorite streaming entertainment will stutter and drag and make life generally annoying, You will stop watching these sites, because you will realize you have better things to do with your time than frustrate yourself.
Personally, I no longer watch television for one simple reason: I cannot afford to pay for cable television. Nor will I: even if I won the lottery, I would not pay to have a torrent of televised drivel poured into my home so that I can watch the rare moments of quality television. The Internet also delivers a torrent of drivel. I cannot and will not pay for all of that, even though I do value the few offerings that I patronize.
Funny about Money earns, at most, around $300 in a month; over a year, its monthly income barely covers hosting and back-end costs. If I have to pay Cox Communications extra to keep the site functional, then I will have no choice but to close Funny down.
This is true for most small website operators and for virtually all start-ups. Having to pay a gouge to publish free content will stifle all those boutique-y sites and exchanges you like to cruise, and it will force you to pay for “premium” content such as the streaming music, movies and videos on YouTube and for social media such as Facebook.
Net neutrality is what makes the Internet a free marketplace of ideas and information.
The free exchange of ideas and information is what makes America a free country. It is key to our way of life.
If this matters to you, it’s time to act. On December 14, the FCC will vote on Net Neutrality. Right now, TODAY, do these things:
Comment to the FCC directly at www.gofccyourself.com
Go here to send a message to Congress and to learn where to demonstrate on December 7.
Call or email your elected representatives NOW to urge them to preserve Net Neutrality.
This is a very, very big effing deal, folks. Don’t let the bastards take any more of your freedoms away.