The most influential protest movement this side of the 1960s has now had it’s overly wide net cast over the battle for net neutrality. Although not formally part of the movement, an Occupy Wall Street style protest camp has emerged outside of the FCC headquarters.
- Why? Because net neutrality is on the verge of extinction.
- How? Verizon won a case against the FCC in federal court which has set the stage for tiered internet service based on payola.
- When did this verdict happen/when will new internet rules & regulations be announced? The verdict was issued in January. May 15th is when the FCC is set to announce the path going forward.
- What is net neutrality anyway? It means that all content on the internet is treated equal regardless of content or content provider. No content can be delivered faster or slower or censored for any reason just or unjust. It means that the internet is a truly open road or blank canvas or democratic communication tool.
- Who wants net neutrality to end? Internet Service Providers (ISPs). They want to charge more for certain content like streaming video. They want people who are willing to pay more to have faster internet access. They want a tiered system. Not just a highway with tolls to pay for infrastructure and maintenance, but an entirely separate highway (not just a lane) for those with money and power to dictate the speed and content that is delivered.
- Where is the battle for net neutrality taking place? FCC HQ in Washington DC. That is where the future of the internet is being discussed and legislated. That is where the #OccupyFCC movement has physically opened up camp.
You may be wondering or assuming that this is a case of David vs Goliath. That Verizon, Comcast, AT&T and the other internet providers are going to steamroll over the little guys (aka 99% of the population) and get everything that they want. However, in the battle against the ISP Godzilla, the little guys have a Mothra on their side. Yesterday a coalition of companies whose entire business model and fortunes have been made on the back of the open internet let their voice and lobbyists be heard to try to protect net neutrality.
Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Amazon, Reddit and Google sent a letter to the FCC voicing their collective, formal support for net neutrality to remain the law of the land. They also backed the call of the common person, to change how broadband ISP’s like telecomm companies which would give the FCC more regulatory control.
You know a bill or potential law is bad if billionaires are on the same side as college students and common folk. The fact that all of these billion dollar companies think tiered internet is a bad idea, then there is likely fire behind that smoke. Net neutrality has allowed the internet to evolve into what it has become. Broadband providers trying to take net neutrality away is nothing more than a despicable money grab. Billionaires who wish to be trillionaires. The battle against net neutrality is greed at it’s worst. Contrary to what middle class white people use the internet for, an open internet is about more than cat videos, selfies, memes, and gifs.
The internet is a necessity at a level just under that of water, food, clothing, and shelter.
Forget the concept of the internet as an entertainment tool and time waster. Forget about social networks, You Tube, torrent sites, and porn. The fight for net neutrality has nothing to do with those. The fight for an open internet is about the internet as the greatest communication tool in the history of humanity. How many people NEED the internet to make a living? How many businesses rely on e-commerce? How big of a role is email in business and education? How many kids do their homework online? How many people around the world lift themselves out of poverty through the internet? How many inventions have been invented because of the internet?
The answer is to all of those is none. It’s not just the “internet” it is an OPEN INTERNET. The internet without network neutrality is not the internet. The death of network neutrality would fundamentally change the way the majority of human beings are able to access the internet. The end of network neutrality is the end of the internet as we know it. The internet will still exist, but in a new form that favors the rich and the powerful. A form that is detrimental to the common person. Ask yourself, who would want to do this to the internet and why?