You might have heard recently of the FCC proposal to introduce new measures to regulate the Internet. Backed into a corner by the litigation won by US telecom giant – Verizon, who actually successfully won a lawsuit against the FCC earlier in January 2014, the FCC is in essence bullied by a cartel of telecom and media conglomerates to change the rules for governing the Internet.
And of course, the rules are meant to be changed into the favor of the corporate interests of the likes of Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and Comcast, who basically are monopolists in their respective territories in the US. In most major cities in the US, you have access to pretty much only one or two major Internet providers. You either pay Comcast, AT&T, Verizon or Time Warner Cable.
Having less competition means that fewer companies control the market and can command premium prices for their services. And, that’s exactly what they are trying to do. They are trying to bring a tier-ed payment system, where your internet subscription bill that would normally be set at let’s say £30 a month, would look like your phone bill – with £5 add-on for 4K streaming or download, or £10 for some ridiculous “download-at-certain-speed” bolt-on. This is not good for any of us. It’s only good for the ISP’s.
The image below is a mock-up of the possible Internet subscriptions plans, should Net Neutrality be abolished. It is quite frightening.
The basic principle of “Net Neutrality” is very simple and is the foundation of the Internet: – All data, no matter where it is coming from, or who it is coming from, is treated equally throughout all stages from the initial server all the way to the end user’s computer.
Some of you might have already seen this clip, which went viral, and it will explain the “Net Neutrality” debate much better than I can. Click below for talk show host John Oliver’s on-screen rant against the proposed FCC changes.
In all seriousness, the above video is genius and absolutely true. “Net Neutrality” is vital for the survival of the Internet as we know it. Without it, the ISP’s (Internet Service Providers), which in almost all cases are huge telecom companies, not only in the US, but also in Europe, can charge premiums for power users, who use more bandwidth, by let’s say – streaming movies online to their computers at home in HD.
Worse, imagine, if net neutrality was to be broken, and you have to pay a premium just to upload or stream 4K content to Vimeo or YouTube! Higher broadband speeds will be required for 4K content online, no one is disputing that. However, this shouldn’t mean that certain big businesses can muscle their way in and outcast smaller businesses or end users into using the “slow lane” simply because they don’t want to pay a premium price to use the so-called “super-fast” web lane that the likes of Comcast or Time Warner Cable are trying to establish.
So, after all, what can we all do about it?
The good thing, is that the FCC is taking this issue seriously and are holding a 120 day public inquiry and asking all of us Internet users to comment and tell them our position.
Keep the Web Neutral and fair! Go to http://www.fcc.gov/comments and let the FCC that you want them to keep the Internet neutral and do not allow telecom giants take over our last domain of freedom.