In the very near future you may try to come to our website and find a loading symbol like the one above. Today the FCC officially voted to kill net neutrality which protected our open internet, giving all the power to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast. This allows them to do what they want when it comes to censorship and throttling speeds of not just users but the sites themselves. These companies will decide who runs fast and who runs slow, what sites are accessible and what sites are not. Despite millions of American people causing a ruckus, continuously sending emails and letters, and calling their local party members, three of the five board members on the FCC voted to kill the net neutrality protections.
Things to consider:
• ISPs spent more than $26.3 million on lobbying — powerful people are only supporting this because they were paid!
• Past and present members of the FCC itself have been adamantly opposed to this repeal — FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said of the vote, “What saddens me the most today is that the agency that is supposed to protect you is actually abandoning you.” (video)
• Prior to the vote former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called it a “shameful sham and sellout” (video)
• FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn voted against the repeal and made a full statement.
• FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the one who has led the charge to destroy net neutrality, just posted this infuriating video mocking the general public. In the video he demonstrates things you’ll still be able to do without an open internet, thing like use Instagram or watch Game of Thrones. As if anyone was suggesting we wouldn’t be able to do these things? He also fails to mention how much more we’ll have to pay to do these things or how fast we’ll be able to do them.
So what does it mean now that it’s gone?
Americans will have to pay to access parts of the Internet separately, similar to cable television “packages”. Here’s what one telecom looks like in Portugal, with the Internet split up into packages (link).
Regardless where you live if you access US-based websites or platforms it will affect you. ISPs will be “gatekeepers” with the ability to promote their own content first and silence anything else (and the largest ones own their own networks, channels, tv shows, and products), so you can see how this arrangement is not at all in the best interest of the general public. This will be the biggest change to the Internet since it was created. Smaller independent sites and platforms will become less accessible and many will eventually disappear completely.
What can be done?
Luckily, the fight is far from over. The FCC has voted but it seems likely that the decision will be brought to court since there are even Republican senators who understand this repeal is a terrible decision.
Here are a few things we can do:
• Visit BattleForTheNet.com to send a pre-written message to Congress (takes 30 seconds)
• Text “BATTLE” to +1 424-363-4877
• Donate to Free Press to support their/our fight — they are in the midst of trying to sue the FCC
• Send real, physical letters about Net Neutrality to your government reps with MailMyGov (they will also help you find all your federal, state, county, and city representatives)
If you have other ways to support, please let us, and other readers know in the comments below.