Hey there internet users. The FCC has been naughty, very very naughty. In a recent high profile move, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has decided to move forward with his misguided notion of what “Net Neutrality” means. How can one claim their policy enforces net neutrality without actually enforcing it? By slippery wording as it turns out. The new policy will allow ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to charge high volume content providers (Netflix is a high profile example) extra to ensure their content is delivered as fast as possible with the fewest interruptions. The way this new proposal creates a loophole is by having ISPs advertise the minimum speed of their plan and not allowing any content to go and slower than their minimum. If a big buyer wants to go faster than the minimum, they must pay extra to the service provider.
Now this is nasty for a few reasons and I’ll highlight my two favorites. The first is that it gives a competitive edge to established content providers, leaving startups in the dust as they will be stuck in the default slow lane. The second reason that this new rule wont work is that all ISPs (Time Warner/AOL/Comcast) can keep their basic service artificially low to force content providers to pay big. The second way this works against consumers is that there is no incentive for ISPs to improve their minimum speeds because, as every American knows, there is no competition in any given area. If you are unhappy with Comcast, for example, there is no competitor to move to. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s new proposal plays lip service to net neutrality while building a system that ensures it is anything but neutral. I hope that this is not the first time you’ve heard about this fight, there have been several high profile news articles and tech giant content generators such as Google, Netflix and Amazon are throwing their weight into this as well.
Along with these giants, average consumers have been getting involved. There are all sorts of ways you, dear reader, can help out. Get off your butts and call, tweet and email the FCC and let your voice be heard. Actually, all those ways allow you to stay with your butt planted in your chair in your pajamas, boxers, underwear or even in the buff. Here are a few of the ways you can make a difference as a literal armchair activist!
Call 1-888-225-5322 use options 1-4-0 to talk to a real person. When I called, I told them ” I want Internet services to be reclassified as a Title II telecommunication service.” That would basically place the internet into the same regulatory category as phone lines.
Stay on your butt and do something! Cheers!