As I’m sure most of you have heard, powerful special interests in the U.S. government have been fighting against net neutrality. I’ll take a brief moment to explain what all of this is about.
Net neutrality means that internet service providers do not charge different rates based on what you do or access on the internet. All data is treated equally. Whether you’re accessing a smaller website like mine, or you’re using Google, or playing a game, the internet service provider doesn’t treat the information differently.
Well, they’ve pretty well gutted net neutrality and over the next ten years, if we don’t fight this, the internet is going to be a very different place than it is today. If we site idly by, it’s going become just like everything else in this world — the rich and powerful dominate and control everything, and the rest of us are shoved off into “slums”.
One of my favorite things about the internet is how free and open it is. I can start a website like this and build it up. I could start my own Youtube channel and gather a following. And if any of you find my material, you can access it at high speeds, watch my videos, read my website, share my content, and so on. I love that. I feel like I’m given an equal shot. There’s very few barriers thrown up. I don’t need a huge wad of money to get started. It’s easy to get going and if I’m willing to work at it, provide content, and promote myself, I can be successful. Sometimes I’ve considered starting a Youtube channel and there are barely any barriers to entry there either. Just go out and buy a decent camera for a few hundred dollars and get yourself some decent lights. And if you don’t really care about presentation, you don’t even need that.
This is what makes the internet so awesome. No matter how much of an odd-ball you might be, you can always find what you’re looking for. But freedom like that is something you have to fight for. The rich and powerful don’t like us to have a place to express ourselves, come together, organize, and innovate. They want control and to destroy any competition. They’re working to throw all of us into digital “slums”.
ISPs like Comcast are working to construct data “super-highways” and plan to throttle bandwidth based on what websites you’re accessing, what content you’re viewing, or what activities you’re participating in. Unless I, the content creator, pay the the ISPs a big wad of money, my content will not be delivered quickly to you, the customer. And unless you spend extra money for fast access to sites like mine, I’ll be thrown into the “slums” of the internet, as will the rest of you.
The internet will become a place dominated by money, like everything else in the world. It all really pisses me off. From your end, you’ll type in “jasonsummers.org” and then you’ll wait, and wait, and wait. It’ll be really slow and a pain, and after a while you’ll get sick of waiting and stop coming to sites like mine. But if you go to somewhere these big ISPs “approve” of (aka, are paying them huge wads of money), then their data packets will be given a higher priority and delivered lightning fast to customers.
So what should you do? First, learn more about all of this. Second, sign petitions, such as this one.
Write your representatives and cause a stink.
If you’re on Youtube, inform your subscribers. If you have a blog, tell your readers about it. And all of us unite and make a lot of noise. Flood your representatives with emails and letters. Physical letters are the best but emails are good too.