I apologise for another Net Neutrality article so soon after the last but even if I'm shouting down an empty line I can't leave it be. Right now you are being shafted, the one area of industry still available to all, the one area which allows for constant growth, the one area with any semblance of freedom and equality in business is being destroyed. The Internet.
I know, I know, it sounds very dramatic but it's happening and these wheels were set in motion back in 2002. The FCC reclassified the Internet as an "information service" rather than a telecoms service. This was the foundation upon which the destruction of Net Neutrality could be based. As an information service the carrier could indeed discriminate against packets of information. In my previous article I gave a very simple explanation as to what Net Neutrality is and why we need to cherish is. Here I'll tell you how it's being dismantled and if this doesn't annoy you then I applaud your apathy and I hope you enjoy you future Internet which will be virtually indistinguishable from the mindless morass of cable television.
What should annoy you.
In 2002 the reclassification was carried out by the then head of the FCC Michael Powell. Not only was this a VERY positive step for cable operators it also, amazingly enough, transpires that Mr Powell is now the main lobbyist FOR the cable companies. Hard to believe, I know.
Because of this two successful cases have been brought against the FCC by giant cable companies who wouldn't have been able to do so without this handy reclassification of a telecoms service.
The payment to government officials and politicians in order to "grease the wheels" is an abhorrent practice. The fact it can continue in such a thinly veiled manner is bad enough but here's a blatant example for you. Comcast have started "donating" a lot of cash to politicians just lately and by sheer coincidence many members of the Republican party have suddenly taken an interest in opposing Net Neutrality. What an odd coincidence, I'm sure you are pretty cool with corporations buying your politicians though, what could be wrong with that?
The head of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, was previously a lobbyist and venture capitalist for the cable and wireless industry. Does this not ring any alarm bells for you?
The GOP now oppose any action to reclassify the service and any protection of Net Neutrality. But again I'm sure this has nothing to do with the large sums of money Comcast donates to the campaign funds of individuals. Couldn't be the case, right?
What the hell can I do?
Well, alone not a huge amount. You could e-mail or write to your representatives, you could write to the companies opposing
Net Neutrality (I don't mean the cable companies themselves, pointless. But companies such as Apple would count), boycott those openly advocating the doing away with of Net Neutrality and generally just wake up and wake those around you up. You don't have to sit in a park for eight weeks wondering how humans could possibly smell so bad. Be an objector, make your blog posts, post on social media, make a noise! Do anything, just at least try.
Common arguments against Net Neutrality:
There are some common themes coming across from those who seek the destruction of Net Neutrality. See if you can see through the bullshit.
Stock values will drop and investment capital will be much harder to find - The House GOP
So, if the cable companies continue to offer a fair service they'll suffer? But they're posting wonderful profits right now, why would that change? Would the markets, so saddened at the loss of potential future profit, have a wobble from which there could be no recovery? Would people stop investing in a growth industry? Hmmm.
Net Neutrality means less investment in infrastructure - A Cable Provider
Do they mean as opposed to now where they post huge profits yet ensure the US has a broadband service which is slower than many western nations? Where poorer areas suffer shocking infrastructure and find themselves even further behind the curve?
My friends, you're being screwed and you're being screwed out of the most amazing resource our generation has ever seen. Please, get active. You won't even have to break a sweat. Do something and maybe, just maybe, your kids and grandchildren will enjoy the benefits, the myriad benefits, of an open and fair Internet.
As an addition I would like to point out the strides the European Union and Brazil have made towards enshrining Net Neutrality into law. Do you guys really want to be left behind?