Why Net Neutrality is Important

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Why Net Neutrality is Important

CGP Grey, a Youtube channel dedicated to short explanatory videos covers the reason why Net Neutrality is important.

Thought your local ISP throttling down torrents was bad? Well if the FCC gets its way, things are about to get a whole lot worse. The following was an excellent explanation taken from the Save the Internet website.

In short, the biggest cable and telephone companies would like to charge money for smooth access to Web sites, speed to run applications, and permission to plug in devices. These network giants believe they should be able to charge Web site operators, application providers and device manufacturers for the right to use the network. Those who don’t make a deal and pay up will experience discrimination: Their sites won’t load as quickly, and their applications and devices won’t work as well. Without legal protection, consumers could find that a network operator has blocked the Web site of a competitor, or slowed it down so much that it’s unusable.

The network owners say they want a “tiered” Internet. If you pay to get in the top tier, your site and your service will run fast. If you don’t, you’ll be in the slow lane.

What’s the Problem Here?

Discrimination: The Internet was designed as an open medium. The fundamental idea since the Internet’s inception has been that every Web site, every feature and every service should be treated without discrimination. That’s how bloggers can compete with CNN or USA Today for readers. That’s how up-and-coming musicians can build underground audiences before they get their first top-40 single. That’s why when you use a search engine, you see a list of the sites that are the closest match to your request — not those that paid the most to reach you. Discrimination endangers our basic Internet freedoms.

Double-dipping: Traditionally, network owners have built a business model by charging consumers for Internet access. Now they want to charge you for access to the network, and then charge you again for the things you do while you’re online. They may not charge you directly via pay-per-view Web sites. But they will charge all the service providers you use. These providers will then pass those costs along to you in the form of price hikes or new charges to view content.

Stifling innovation: Net Neutrality ensures that innovators can start small and dream big about being the next EBay or Google without facing insurmountable hurdles. Unless we preserve Net Neutrality, startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay for a top spot on the Web. On a tiered Internet controlled by the phone and cable companies, only their own content and services — or those offered by corporate partners that pony up enough “protection money” — will enjoy life in the fast lane.

What you can Do

Spread the word! Let people know why net neutrality is important to maintain internet freedom and share CGP’s video!

If you’re in the US, you can also vote with your wallet and on social media against Internet Service Providers like Comcast who publicly back the FCC’s reforms. Note that Comcast is already charging Netflix for preferential treatment and has been sponsoring misleading ads such as this one. On the flip side, Comcast is also saying that even if the net neutrality advocates get what they want to classify the internet as  Title II common carrier service, it doesn’t stop ISPs from still offering ‘for-pay’ fast lanes for certain content providers.

Sources and Further Reading:
Guardian

Save the Internet

Phandroid

Deadline

Verge

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