Net Neutrality is about to face its greatest threat to date. And on July 12th, the internet will fight back.
Right now, FCC Chairman (and former Verizon lawyer) Ajit Pai has a plan to destroy Net Neutrality and give big cable companies immense control over what we see and do online.
If they get their way, the FCC will give companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T control over what we can see and do on the Internet, with the power to slow down or block websites and charge apps and sites extra fees to reach an audience.
We, the citizens of the internet, have successfully fought back on this and related issues (such as SOPA) several times before. But we can’t afford to rest, because the telecoms keep trying.
That’s why, on July 12th, Team Internet — those who want to preserve Net Neutrality and ensure the web remains a space for innovation and open communication — plans to fight back again.
Here’s how you can help on July 12th — and after:
What you can do to help on July 12th
Okay, so now that you get the issue, it’s time to act. Here’s two suggestions:
1. Send a letter to the FCC and Congress
This one’s easy, because Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and the Freepress Action Fund have already written the letter for you.
So all you have to do is add your name.
2. Spread the word through your website(s)
The aforementioned groups have also built a variety of assets you can use on your website, social media accounts, and blog posts or emails to help spread the word and educate folks about net neutrality.
These assets include a modal, push notifications, Facebook and Twitter avatars, and a bumper video to help you quickly explain the issue.
Not sold on Net Neutrality yet? Here’s why you should care:
What’s Net Neutrality?
In January 2003, law professor Tim Wu coined the term “net neutrality” to describe one position in a brewing legal battle over the fate of the internet. The basic idea is that:
internet service providers (ISPs) should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. I.e., they should be neutral about the data they pass on to end users.
Of course, to the business folks at the world’s ISPs, this looks like a big lost monetization opportunity. And to those individuals and businesses who rely on the internet to run their businesses, it looks like exactly the way it should be.
Which leads us to the present (and ongoing) battle between Team Internet and Team Cable.
On one side, Team Cable: telecommunications giants like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and Time-Warner, all determined to find more ways to monetize the internet.
To, in other words, turn the internet into a worldwide version of cable television, where you can buy a basic package to get access to the “essentials,” but have to upgrade your service to get those “premium” websites.
Where sites without the money or influence to sway internet providers to make them “basic” are relegated to a worldwide “slow lane” where aggressive bandwidth throttling would render painstaking performance optimization and UX improvements meaningless.
On the other side of this battle, Team Internet: people like you and me, and the companies we work for.
People who believe that the internet is literally the best thing since sliced bread. Actually — since the wheel.
Yeah, the wheel.
Because think about it: the wheel wasn’t just important because it freed people and things to move relatively quickly over vast distances. It mattered even more because it freed ideas and knowledge to move relatively quickly over vast distances.
And the internet has dramatically improved that speed of idea distribution, of sharing. In fact, today we produce and share more information daily than we did for all of pre-internet history.
Thankfully, we’ve got some pretty great company on our side too. Or rather, companies.
The list is seriously lengthy, so I won’t bore you with the whole thing, but I will call out a few luminaries, like:
- The ACLU
And the list goes on. And on.