You may not like everything you find on the Internet. But ask yourself this: would you really want to lose it?
That's the question you should be pondering today, Net Neutrality Wednesday. CMSWire is joining hundreds of websites, from Etsy, reddit, Netflix and WordPress to adult platforms like Pornhub and Redtube, in an online protest today to urge regulators to ban fast lanes on the Internet.
You probably noticed a spinning-wheel icon on the site when you showed up today. It's there to convey our belief that the Internet could very well function more slowly if regulators adopt a two-tiered system for Internet access.
Or more importantly, it reflects our belief that there's already enough that's "two-tiered" about our society, and we have absolutely no need for any more of this nonsense. Let's keep things simpler, better and flatter than that.
Net neutrality has been one of the original and enshrining tenets of the Internet: All content is created equal — and Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data that travels over their networks the same. But the fate of Net Neutrality in the US is jeopardized by proposed regulatory actions.
New Life for an Old Issue
A long simmering debate over the fate of net neutrality gained new steam in January when a US federal appeals court struck down a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling meant to prevent ISPs from prioritizing some website traffic over others.
In April, the FCC released proposed regulatory guidelines that sparked new fears among net neutrality proponents. The proposal includes language giving ISPs the option to create a “fast lane” for select websites.
You don't need a PhD to recognize that the favored sites will likely be those with the deepest pockets -- the ones willing to ante up for the fastest access to users. And that will hurt everyone who either can't or won't pay to play, including, most likely, many of your favorite websites.
Remember that spinning icon you saw here and likely on other sites today? It won't actually slow down the websites, but if you click it, you'll be directed to a website where you can voice your support for net neutrality.
In Simplest Terms
The concept of Net Neutrality is not as complicated as it may seem.
When we log onto the Internet, we take a lot for granted. We assume we’ll be able to access any web site we want, whenever we want, at the fastest speed, whether it’s a corporate or mom-and-pop site. We assume that we can use any service we like — to watch videos, listen to webinars, send mail, search the most obscure topics — anytime we choose.
What makes all these assumptions possible is Network — or Net — Neutrality.
Net Neutrality is the no discrimination concept behind the free and open Internet. It enables both major corporations – and the lowest level employees who work for them – to have equal playing fields on the Internet.
Net Neutrality prevents Internet providers from speeding up or slowing down web content based on its source, ownership or destination.
Net neutrality has been facing challenges for years from some of the nation’s largest telephone and cable companies, including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner. These mega-companies want to decide which web sites go fast or slow and which won’t load at all. They have even proposed taxing providers to guarantee fast delivery of data.
One of the best videos on Net Neutrality was created way back in 2006. It's worth watching, if you really want to understand the issue.
The FCC has been collecting public comments about its proposed net neutrality guidelines for months. But the deadline to submit comments is Sept. 15. So take 10 minutes, watch the video and then, if you agree with us, take action. There are plenty of things you can do to help Save the Internet ... before we lose it.