Will the FCC Break Net Neutrality?

A group of concerned citizen activists are camping out at the FCC headquarters in Washington, DC to protest the new net neutrality rule.  The new net discrimination rules would create a fast lane for those willing to pay a premium.  While everyone else gets slower connections to their favorite online sites and services.

FCC Protest

The Fight for the Future team is working hard to help organize the protest.  Their goal is to get FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to realize how much pressure there is from citizens who don’t want companies to create a class-based Internet.  Mr. Wheeler was previously a lobbyist for the cable industry.

You might think the term class-based is a bit much but it really isn’t when you consider the new rules being considered by the FCC.  They would allow companies like Comcast and Verizon to charge media companies like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu for priority service.  What does that mean for customers?

Comcast customers might be thinking it’s a good thing right now as their Netflix speeds have increased based on a deal between the companies.  Then you soon find out that Netflix will be raising their fees.   A coincidence?  I’m sure they will attribute it to something else but when money is paid companies will make it up somewhere and it will likely be out of your pocket.

Technology companies are speaking out.  Over 100 of them including Google, Facebook and Netflix presented a letter on May 7th sharing their thoughts:

Dear Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai, and O’Reilly:

We write to express our support for a free and open internet. Over the past twenty years, American innovators have created countless Internet-based applications, content offerings, and services that are used around the world. These innovations have created enormous value for Internet users, fueled economic growth, and made our Internet companies global leaders. The innovation we have seen to date happened in a world without discrimination. An open Internet has also been a platform for free speech and opportunity for billions of users.

The Commission’s long-standing commitment and actions undertaken to protect the open Internet are a central reason why the Internet remains an engine of entrepreneurship and economic growth.

According to recent news reports, the Commission intends to propose rules that would enable phone and cable Internet service providers to discriminate both technically and financially against Internet companies and to impose new tolls on them. If these reports are correct, this represents a grave threat to the Internet.

Instead of permitting individualized bargaining and discrimination, the Commission’s rules should protect users and Internet companies on both fixed and mobile platforms against blocking, discrimination, and paid prioritization, and should make the market for Internet services more transparent.  The rules should provide certainty to all market participants and keep the costs of regulation low.

Such rules are essential for the future of the Internet. This Commission should take the necessary steps to ensure that the Internet remains an open platform for speech and commerce so that America continues to lead the world in technology markets.

If you feel the same way I do you know the path the FCC is heading is not going to work out in your favor.  This is the time to make your voice heard.  There are a number of ways you can help.  For those close to Washintgton, DC a visit to the FCC would be great.  You are welcome to join the protesters or if you can’t perhaps offer them some kind words of encouragement.

Most of us aren’t close enough to join in on the protest at FCC headquarters but we can still help shape the FCC’s decision.  To help please visit the Fight for the Future Save the Internet site.  From there you can easily sign the online petition and even call FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to share your thoughts.

The FCC is expected to meet on Thursday, May 15th to rule on this very real threat to net neutrality.  Please help keep the Internet free and open by showing your support and sharing the important news with others between now and Thursday.