Monday, June 11 marks the day that the FCC rolls back the Net Neutrality Rules and Title II classification on Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Now a lot of what public interest groups are scared about these rollbacks is all speculative, though everyone should be scared about what these rollbacks could do to every internet user.
A Brief History of Net Neutrality Rules
Net Neutrality is the basic principle that all data that is shared throughout the internet is free to access no matter how much you pay to have wifi in your home or office, and that no company can pay for their data to be faster than there competitors. These rules came about because in 2010 the FCC sued Verizon for trying to sell companies like Netflix a speedier data network. The case made its way to the federal court of appeals where they ruled that the FCC did not have the authority to regulate ISPs.
The FCC went to work and propose switching ISPs over from Title I "information services" which include tv and radio communication to Title II "Common Carriers" which would move ISPs under FCC regulation and jurisdiction. Common Carriers are utilities like landline phones and electricity. These are considered services that the general public can't live without and have a high regulation on. Section 202 of the Communications Act of 1934 states that "It shall be unlawful" for any common carrier to discriminate on any basis and give anyone an advantage over another.
These new Net Neutrality rules regulate the internet to allow it to be a free and open place for the spreading of information and ideas no matter how you accessed it. Removing these rules can cause a huge effect in what your internet bill will look like.
What Could Happen Now That Net Neutrality Is Rolled Back
Now everything that can happen is speculative and this might be a doom day scenario, but there are huge concerns over ISPs like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T will start to break up the internet into packages. Want to watch your favorite Netflix shows, sign up for our binge watchers package for $10 more per month. Want to keep up with your friends on Facebook, add our social media package for $15 a month.
There is also fear that companies such as Netflix and Vimeo could pay an ISP more money for their streaming service to run faster on their networks.
Netflix probably won't be buying premium services from any ISP but that won't stop other companies will.
Lastly, the fear is that ISPs will slow down internet access to poor communities across the country and limit making for that the more you pay the better your internet access and speed is.
Who Is Really Hurt By These Rollbacks
Big corporations and the general public have the least to fear about these rollbacks. Big corporations can afford the potential budget hit that a higher cost to internet access would cost. As long as you can afford to pay for all the packages that you want your internet bill should be fine. Who is really hurt is anyone who uses the internet to make a living. We live in a gig economy where everyone can freelance their service or work and get paid for one job at a time. There are no longer any long-term contracts for certain professions.
These rollbacks would hurt YouTube Channels, Etsy sellers, photographers, and Vocal writers. We all use the internet to generate content to sell to a viewing audience. We all can be at a loss if our audience numbers are cut drastically due to people not being able to afford just basic access to each site. We as creators would also need to pay to access sites that allow us to distribute content freely, and access the sites that allow us to access the money that we earned through these sites.
Everything would remain the same. YouTube would still be free, but you would have to pay an ISP money to access your free YouTube account.
We need Net Neutrality to keep a free flow of information to everyone. Not just for people who can afford or are willing to pay for access. Yes, these are government oversight rules that are preventative, but these rules keep these nightmare scenarios from ever becoming a reality. It's better to prevent an accident from happening than to respond to after said accident has occurred.
How You Can Help Save Net Neutrality
Net Neutrality can be saved and steps have already been taken to start this process. The Senate voted to repeal the FCCs decision to roll back on net neutrality rules by a 52-47 vote to approve the repeal. All that's left is for the House to have a vote on the issue. All that left is to contact your local congressman or woman.
If you go to the Battle For The Net's website and you can find your local congressman or woman to contact them about the issue and ask them to vote to repeal the rollbacks. They are also doing a wanted poster campaign that shows people that their local congressman or woman votes against the repeal of the rollbacks.
Contact your local congressman or women, not for yourself but as a favor for your favorite YouTuber, SoundCloud rapper, Instagram personality, or Vocal writer. We are all trying to make an honest living anyway how and the rollbacks of Net Neutrality make it harder for us to do that.