What is net neutrality?
It is “the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.”
Since the Clinton era, a free and open internet has been an economic boon for the US economy. This has also been true for many other countries. Well, that may change. A group of our Republican Senators are pushing a bill that will change the rules governing the internet into a boon for ISPs. The bill introduced by Mike Lee a Republican Senator from Utah seeks to roll back Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules. Rules that require service providers to treat all web traffic equally.
This has been a point of contention between internet users and internet providers since the 1990’s. The user side of the issue is in favor of reclassifying broadband as a telecommunication service, thereby preserving net neutrality. Hmmm, the internet, fiber, cable, telecommunications, makes sense to me.
Wikipedia provides us with some recent background on this issue:
“On February 26, 2015, the FCC ruled in favor of net neutrality by reclassifying broadband as a common carrier under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 and Section 706 of the Telecommunications act of 1996. On April 13, 2015, the FCC published the final rule on its new “Net Neutrality” regulations. These rules went into effect on June 12, 2015. However, a more recent attempt, in April 2017, is being considered by the newly appointed FCC chairman, Ajit Varadaraj Pai, to compromise net neutrality.”
Certainly, partisan politics is playing a role since Republicans are looking out for big business and Democrats are generally in favor of net neutrality. Actually, everyone I know is in favor of net neutrality. At the end of the day the American public wants better, faster, cheaper Internet like so many other countries. (see our article “US Low On The List of Countries With Affordable Fast Internet“). Are you listening Congress?
If that’s not bad enough, President Trump has signed a bill that will allow internet service providers (ISPs) to track and sell “your data”. Online privacy rules were passed last year by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). These rules would require broadband companies to get their customer’s permission before monitoring their browsing history. This includes geolocation, financial data, medical information and more. The rules would have taken effect by the end of this year. They would prohibit ISPs from selling the data to other businesses so they can send us targeted ads. So why is the US Congress hell bent on undoing net neutrality and privacy rules that are in place? Gordon Gekko comes to mind, “Greed Is Good”.
Gotta Laugh To Keep From Crying
No matter how ugly things get, I like to find the humor in issues that otherwise make me nauseous. Laughter is one of the few things we have that can’t be taken away, or regulated. With that said I want to refer you all to John Oliver, HBO’s late night comedian who understands the net neutrality issue very well. John provides an absolutely hilarious take on net neutrality that goes deeply into this issue with non-stop humor. So if you want to laugh to keep from crying check out the video below.
By the way, John bought the domain gofccyourself.com that points directly to the page on the FCC website where you, the American public can let the FCC know your position on this issue. By all means, let your voice be heard.