Stop the FCC and save Net Neutrality

If the FCC gets rid of Net Neutrality, ISPs will have abusive powers over consumers, it will negatively harm startups, and it will allow political censorship of the internet.

Removing Net Neutrality will slow down the internet.

Removing Net Neutrality will slow down the internet.

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Net Neutrality—it is a simple, but enormously important policy that is now under attack.

In simple terms, it means that Internet Service Providers (ISP) like Comcast, Verizon, or AT&T are legally required to treat all data over the internet equally. They cannot slow down or speed up certain websites. A video of a cat playing the piano has to legally get the same speed as a video of the President. Fox News must be delivered at the same speed as the New York Times.

In 2015 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) cemented Net Neutrality under the Title II framework. This means that the internet is regulated as a utility, just like electricity or water. ISPs can’t slow speeds to computers, just like how water providers cannot purposely slow water to houses.

On December 14, the FCC plans to overturn the current Net Neutrality rules, and this decision will negatively affect the future of the internet.”

— Gus Beringer & Ingrid Lundberg

On December 14, the FCC plans to overturn the current Net Neutrality rules, and this decision will negatively affect the future of the internet. ISPs will have abusive powers over consumers, it will negatively harm startups who rely on a free and open internet to access consumers, and it will enable political censorship of the internet.

Ajit Pai the current chairman of the FCC (appointed under President Trump) has proposed the vote to end Net Neutrality. His argument is that the government shouldn’t overly regulate ISPs, and they should be allowed to create fast lanes for content if they want to. He argues that if one ISP really censored a website, the free market would punish that ISP because people would leave it and go to a new ISP. However, according to the 2015 FCC Internet Access Services report, nearly one-third of Americans have only one ISP available. This means ISPs have an Oligopoly on the internet—where a small number of firms dominate the market share. While Ajit Pai argues that consumer backlash will prevent ISPs from doing anything egregious, the reality is that ISPs can pretty much do whatever they want.

In a petition to the FCC chairman Ajit Pai, over 800 startups argued that Net Neutrality is necessary for a competitive marketplace. “Without Net Neutrality, the incumbents who provide access to the Internet would be able to pick winners or losers in the market. They could impede traffic from our services in order to favor their own services or established competitors. Or they could impose new tolls on us, inhibiting consumer choice,” the petition said. With Net Neutrality in place, new companies have the same internet speeds as Youtube and Netflix. Without this protection, ISPs could sell exclusive fast-lanes to already entrenched companies.

When Net Neutrality loses its legal protection, ISPs will have even more power. They could censor websites they don’t approve of, and consumers will have no legal recourse. Under Net Neutrality, all news websites must be delivered at the same speed to the user. Removing the Title II protections that enable Net Neutrality gives unprecedented power to ISPs to censor. Without Net Neutrality, the parent company of NBCNews (Comcast) can throttle the bandwidth of other conservative news sources.

Keeping Net Neutrality should be a bipartisan issue. A mega-corporation should not be able to retain massive influence in what traffic is good enough to reach Americans. All speech, news, and videos, should be delivered at the same rate to consumers regardless of who is running the ISP. Without Net Neutrality, your ISP could force you to use Bing. Do you really want to have to use Bing?

If you want to help, because there is time before the vote on December 14. You can head to https://www.battleforthenet.com.

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