On February 5, 2015 the new rules proposal for broadband will be circulated for review. Later this month, February 26th, the FCC will vote on these regulations. They are reported to go the direction that Net Neutrality activists have hoped, and that’s a good thing, but the new Republican congress who benefits from an average of $350 million dollars a year in campaign contributions from the communications industry is attempting to derail all the progress that has been made. As described in the article linked to above, opponents to the idea of true Net Neutrality (personified by Sen. John Thune R-SD and Rep. Fred Upton R- Michigan) oppose the idea of reclassification and are proposing a separate bill that neuters the authority of the FCC thereby opening a backdoor to the kinds of actions that Net Neutrality activists were hoping to see squashed, like internet fast lanes.
In case you need a reminder of why reclassification is essential and why communication companies cannot be trusted to “self regulate” just check out this article which shows what happened when Netflix was forced to negotiate with Comcast.
On top of the big internet providers attempting to charge content providers, other businesses have been getting crafty as well. A large penalty was just levied on Marriott Hotels because they were blocking private wi-fi hotspots, the kind offered by carriers like Verizon and Sprint, and forcing people to purchase the wi-fi through the hotel. Although they were caught and fined, this is likely just the first of many such attempts as large companies try to find a way to grab market share on internet service as it becomes part of people’s daily lives more and more.
Even though true Net Neutrality is so close, the fight is still on and it is important not to stop making our desire for an open and free internet known. If you enjoy things like Netflix, Facebook, YouTube and even online dating then this effects you and your life.
You can follow THIS LINK to learn how to have your voice heard. Contact your representatives and let them know that you like your internet just fine and want it to stay free and open.
Keep up the fight!