Most of you have probably heard about the FCC rulings and protests going on in the U.S. currently but many of you may be casting this off as the problem of the United States alone. Many of you have probably seen the numerous articles on the internet heralding net neutrality as the 2nd coming.
What is Network Neutrality?
Unfortunately, no one has actually explained what net neutrality is. Simply, net neutrality is the open internet. Under net neutrality rules , all of the data on the internet will be treated equally. If a service provider like Comcast , which owns NBC , could not favor NBC over YouTube and lower the speeds when a customer goes to YouTube. These types of rules are favored by internet companies like Google as well as a majority of internet users. Others , mainly big service providers such as Comcast , claim that net neutrality is overstepping the bounds of the FCC’s power in terms of regulation , arguing that the free market is what helped foster the internet boom. This also corresponds with Comcast forcing Netflix to pay extra for high speeds because of the high bandwidth of their streaming video service.
What is the FCC doing about it?
Currently, the FCC is debating upon two different options to follow for internet regulation as their prior rules were shot down in court. One option allows fast lanes for the internet while the other calls for reclassification of the internet as a utility and banning paid fast lanes. Under the 1st option, Comcast would be allowed to prioritize NBC. Comcast would also be able to charge customers for a fast lane for sites that use more bandwidth like Netflix so long as it is “commercially reasonable”. Under the 2nd option, all data would be treated equally and there would be no option for prioritization. The FCC’s options boil down to favoring an open internet or favor the interests of big service providers. Recent developments in terms of any policies in the U.S. have shown one thing; the government favors corporations over the common man.
Many proponents of network neutrality want internet service providers to be reclassified as common carriers. This would essentially put Comcast at the same level of regulation as a cell phone carrier like T-Mobile. T-Mobile can’t charge customers extra for calling someone from a rural town in the south. Comcast could not charge a customer extra if they wanted to play 100 hours of Call of Duty online under these rules.
I don’t care about this, this won’t affect me right?
Many people have shown antipathy for the issue; they try to downplay net neutrality as a problem for the U.S. alone. Multiple internet companies, including Google and Netflix have their bases in the U.S. Having a fast lane for content would not only cause many video streaming companies like YouTube and Netflix to reduce the quality in order to reduce the bandwidth that their sites use as default; these companies will want to reach as many customers as possible. Also, you can forget about 4k content. Online gaming will also be crumpled. People don’t want to and will not pay for a “fast lane” just to watch Netflix.
As soon as “fast lanes” get approved, expect your bill to rise, especially if you are a content creator. Having a weak network neutrality charade by the FCC is simply not enough; adding “commercially reasonable fast lanes” will destroy the openness of the internet just like SOPA would have. It’s obvious that companies will find a way around “commercially reasonable” as they have found loopholes for multiple other laws in the past. Europe may seem safe but regulations like this by the FCC will cause the customers of many international companies headaches in the future. If evil corporations in the U.S. decide to destroy the open internet, who’s to say that evil corporations in Europe will not?
In order to truly have an open internet, the FCC needs to have rules based on network neutrality. No fast lanes; the FCC should make all data be treated equally. “Commercially Reasonable” payments for fast lanes on the internet should not be tolerated. Preservation of the open internet should be our key goal as internet users. We have risen against corporations before with SOPA. If you have not already, I encourage you to express your thoughts to the FCC about the “Fast lane” here http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/upload/display?z=qkuau . Today, the internet is an essential part of our lives. Even if you are not a U.S. citizen, as an internet citizen actively encouraging all governments to promote the open internet should be your top priority. After all, no one wants to see the internet get destroyed because a few corporate shills wanted some more fat stacks in their pockets.
Latest posts by Hydro Ninja (see all)
- A Message to GamerGate - 09/06/2014
- Twitch is the next YouTube - 08/07/2014
- Project Cars Dev Shafts the Wii U: Delayed until 2015 - 07/11/2014