Many prominent figures and companies from the tech and mass media industries, as well as various activist groups, raised their voices to protest a measure by the Federal Communications Commision (FCC) to eliminate net neutrality rules enacted in 2015 under the Obama administration.
Several noteworthy individuals and groups have raised objections to the FCC’s proposed net neutrality restrictions. Among them are World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners Lee, Facebook executives CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, and current FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. In addition, many web based companies such as Google, Twitter, and Reddit, as well as civil rights groups such as the ACLU, have issued statements that strongly defend net neutrality. A full list of companies supporting net neutrality can be found here.
As currently constituted, net neutrality rules are designed to ensure an online democracy in which all Internet traffic is treated equally by Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast or AT&T. While many voices in support of net neutrality say they’re motivated by altruistic reasons, there’s also an economic component to consider. Indeed, many tech companies fear that a rollback on net neutrality will imbue ISPs with greater powers in determining which websites load faster and which sites do not.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai recently outlined a sweeping proposal to decrease government oversight of Internet providers. Pai believes the industry should be left to police itself rather than be subject to FCC regulations. The move is meant to loosen restrictions on telecommunications companies, but critics say that it’ll allow a few, all-powerful providers to exert greater control over what web surfers will be able to see online by charging “fast lane” fees and slowing connection speeds.
Net neutrality proponents argue that without a free and unfettered Internet, start-up companies will have far less opportunity to launch themselves. They point out that many of today’s biggest companies, including social media giants Facebook and Twitter, may not have been created had they been obliged to pay ISPs to give them fast lane access to online browsers.
Also, the open platform provided by social media sites and other online avenues have been a boon to political expression and organization for both left-wing and right-wing activists. People from both sides of the political aisle have expressed concern that the FCC’s net neutrality restrictions could have a chilling effect on free speech.
We here at Networtech fully support net neutrality. A web design and development company such as our relies on a free Internet to conduct our business and enable client websites a fair opportunity to reach a potential base of new customers. With that in mind, we urge our readers to support measures to protect net neutrality.
Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.
One place to start is by signing this online petition in support of net neutrality. You can also raise your concerns directly with the FCC by contacting them via phone or email. Finally, you can further your education of net neutrality issues by checking out the websites of net neutrality defenders like Fight for the Future. Here’s hoping net neutrality is here to stay now and in the future!