Important Message: Net Neutrality
The deadline was extended to this Friday. That means you only have today and tomorrow. And for a lot of you, that is just today.
Go to http://www.fcc.gov/comments and look for docket 14-28. Submit a comment demanding the restoration of Net Neutrality. Actually, what you really want to do is ask for ISP’s to be considered as Title II Common Carriers, because that would make the people providing your internet be considered the same as the people who provide your water and electricity.
This is extremely important. Without Net Neutrality, our ISP’s have the ability to mandate our connection speeds to individual sites. This gives companies like Comcast the effective power to control the internet because they get to decide exactly what sites require a premium to be able to visit properly. If your ISP owns stock in Hulu, they’re going to slow down your speeds to Netflix. This also means that they have the power to restrict flow to smaller sites. Like all of us webcomics you read. If your ISP corporate giant doesn’t like a comic, they have the complete legal authority to reduce speed to that site to a crawl.
This gives these companies the legal ability to control the growth of the internet. Remember when we used MySpace instead of Facebook? We all started using facebook because we liked it better. Facebook became bigger than MySpace because we the people liked it more. Without net neutrality, MySpace could have bribed Comcast to reduce facebook’s connection speeds, which would have left people not wanting to use facebook because it was too slow. You might think that “bribery” is illegal, but all they would have to have done was sell Comcast a big chunk of their stock, (which was soon to be worthless anyway,) and suddenly Comcast has a vested interest in MySpace, and would want to see them pull ahead of Facebook.
“But removing Net Neutrality just means ISP’s can create a ‘Fast Lane’ for better internet service!” WRONG! ISP’s already can give us faster connections for a premium price; that’s always been the way things have run, and is simply part of good business. They always have been, and always will be, able to charge you more for higher speeds, or let you have slower speeds for a smaller cost. The only thing that Net Neutrality did was declare that they can’t pick how fast your speeds are to specific sites. Now they can give you “faster” speeds to specific sites they pick, and slow down your speeds for any site they pick.
With Net Neutrality, ISP’s can still give you faster internet for a premium price. It just means that whether you have slow internet or fast internet, you always get the same speed to any site. It’s the way the internet has always worked. But now Comcast and Time Warner get to slow down sites they don’t like.
“But the decision explicitly stated that they can’t block a site! Slowing down speeds is not the same as blocking a site altogether.” True. But how long are you going to wait for a site to load before you give up and do something else? Especially with the very content-heavy sites that we have grown accustomed to these days.
The worst part of this all is that we have already lost Net Neutrality. We have only one chance, right now, to get it back.
A regular comic will be posted next week.