In January, the Supreme Court ruled against the FCC’s right to enforce net neutrality allowing internet service providers to discriminate against certain websites. The internet was invented to allow open access and open communication across a globally-connected network, but internet-service providers like Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon want to change that.
Back in 2010, the FCC created an law known as the “Open Internet Order” which made it illegal for internet service providers to block websites and to discriminate against certain websites which means that Comcast can make it so that one website loads slow and make another website load fast; and this is what internet companies like Comcast are trying to do.
For example, a website like Facebook would be forced to pay companies like Comcast a bunch of money in order for its website to load at an acceptable speed; doing this creates two lanes of internet, a fast lane and a slow lane. Websites that could afford it would be able to pay the internet-service providers a lot of money to maintain a constant website-loading speed while a small business or a regular person with a blog would not be able to afford to pay a bunch of money for premium-internet loading speeds thus making their website run slow.
Just because companies like Google and Facebook can afford to pay more to have their websites load fast, it doesn’t mean that they want to. In fact, some of the most-well known websites like Google, Yahoo, and Facebook are in an active campaign to turn over the court’s decision against the FCC’s right to enforce net neutrality.
We saw similar campaigns when the government tried giving the power to control the internet to internet-service providers and Hollywood companies with their attempt to pass SOPA and PIPA; the attempt to pass these two bills led to the internet blackout protest led by Wikipedia. Today, these same major websites are encouraging their users to speak out against the court’s ruling.
The internet was created to allow everyday people like you and me to share and exchange ideas, and to communicate, and if we destroy net neutrality, we destroy the internet. Because most people will lose the ability to run a website or blog on the internet leaving the ability to communicate freely without restriction behind with it. It is imperative that people speak up, and join the campaign for net neutrality. If companies like Comcast get their way, they will be able to control what we see, and what we say on the internet.
The internet has changed the world and created new possibilities by being open and free, but once again corporate greed has destroyed our right to free speech. Not only will the corporate world have control of our government due to laws like “Citizens United” which allowed corporations to spend unlimited money on lobbying, but now has allowed them to take control of the internet, blocking any site that they do not like.
At the end of the day, losing net neutrality doesn’t just mean losing the internet, but losing our right to free speech.