Written by: Ellisia Jesnes
I gotta tell you, I’m pretty up in arms about the idea of Verizon, Comcast, or AT&T, Time Warner, or anyone else controlling what I can and can’t view online. Whether it’s something like wiki articles, or maybe a Rachel Ray show on foodnetwork.com, I don’t want anyone regulating what I can see. I wouldn’t say I’m opposed to authority, but I will say that I don’t like the idea of anyone regulating my ultimate surfing experience.
So what is net neutrality exactly? Well, according to the definition provided at savetheinternet.com, “Net Neutrality is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet. Net Neutrality means that Internet service providers may not discriminate between different kinds of content and applications online. It guarantees a level playing field for all Web sites and Internet technologies. Net Neutrality is the reason the Internet has driven economic innovation, democratic participation and free speech online. It protects the consumer's right to use any equipment, content, application or service without interference from the network provider. With Net Neutrality, the network's only job is to move data… not to choose which data to privilege with higher quality service.”
What does all this mean? It means that industry giants could convert your small business’s network to loading at a snail’s pace if you don’t purchase the right package from their retailers. It means that sharing family photos may take hours instead of minutes if you don’t buy the rights to use the right “pipes” on the internet for uploading content. Costs could skyrocket for posting video and user generated websites like YouTube would be a thing of the past. Imagine if you couldn’t get to the sites you want to visit without paying a fee. Ugh! I would be in a constant state of frustration, that’s for sure!!
Take a look at some quotes from some of these “giants” I’m talking about:
According to the Washington Post:
William L. Smith, chief technology officer for Atlanta-based BellSouth Corp., told reporters and analysts that an Internet service provider such as his firm should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc.
Smith isn't alone. Former AT&T Chief Ed Whitacre told BusinessWeek:
Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain't going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it. So there's going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they're using. Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?
And Verizon's Ivan Seidenberg told the Wall Street Journal:
We have to make sure they don't sit on our network and chew up our capacity. We need to pay for the pipe.
That’s right. They have every intention of lobbying until they gain ultimate control over what we see on the internet. Earlier this year a campaign was launched to defund the FCC’s ability to serve as a watchdog over the net and to protect against industry abuses.
Luckily we have companies like Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Intel, and Microsoft on our side. President Obama has stated he “will take a back seat to no one to protect Net Neutrality.”
Here’s a short video to help break down the details and the ins and outs of what's going on right now between the FCC and the major hitters in the battle for control:
So the question now is.... what can you do. Here are a few things to get you started:
Sign the SavetheInternet.com petition and tell Congress to pass Net Neutrality legislation now. Show your support for Internet freedom on your Web site or blog. And….Tell your friends about this crucial issue before it's too late!!!!