The Importance of Net Neutrality

 

While we all know how valuable and important the internet is, those of us born in the late seventies, early eighties. I feel have a special appreciation for it. Why? Because growing up, one year we were in a library photocopying encyclopedias, and the next we were accessing the first websites, finding information online. One summer we were sending postcards and letters to friends back home during summer vacation, the next we were emailing. Etc. We literally watched the internet be born, watched it change how we live our lives.

No one in Congress is this generation (that I know of). Not that it’d matter, I’m sure they’d still sell it out for a fat Comcast Check. Certainly, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is cashing his Comcast check(s)

Why is Net Neutrality so important?

Imagine you want to watch a video on Hulu, except your internet provider is owned by CBS, who doesn’t participate in Hulu, and would prefer you watch content on their streaming service. Hulu loads at about the speed of an old dial-up modem (which my generation knows the pain of), while CBS All Access loads in the blink of an eye.

 

Let’s say you want to search for something, and you go to Google to search for it. Except Google doesn’t load, at all. You’re redirected to a search screen provided by your ISP.

 

Let’s say you like to watch CNN online, except your ISP is owned by a subsidiary of the Fox News empire. CNN loads like a website from the mid-’90s, complete with grainy video, while Fox News loads with barely a second’s delay in full 4k.

 

Let’s say your whole house has Nest cams, smoke alarms, etc set up. Your ISP, Comcast offers their Xfinity Home Protection plan, with their own cameras and smart home tech. Now your Nest cam video is grainy and pixelated when you’re at work trying to see the guy stealing your packages. The motion alarm notification arrives a full twenty minutes after the fact because those packets are on a slow lane.

 

Let’s say you work from home and use Skype for meetings daily. Your ISP, however, has a video chat platform they’re launching. Your Skype calls make it only a minute or two before dropping, but the competing platform’s calls are crystal clear and never drop.

 

Oh, but of course, in all of these examples, your ISP is more than happy to offer an upgraded package that makes your service of choice load as fast as it used to. For a nominal charge.

 

That isn’t allowed to happen right now, but if the FCC has their way, not only will it be allowed to happen, it is almost certain it will. Companies like Comcast are chomping at the bit to have free reign to charge what they want, to block the sites they want, to promote the sites they want, over others.

Call, fax and text your congressweasel and urge them to pressure the FCC. Tweet, facebook, instagram your message to them and the FCC to let them know the internet is too important to let corporations dictate how it works.

By John Wilker

I'm a science fiction writer and conference organizer. In 2017 I published my first book, 'Space Rogues', a fun Sci-Fi adventure with a fun cast of characters. I'm also the co-founder of 360|Conferences, a conference and event logistics consulting company.

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