Net Neutrality: Why You Should Care

Imagine you get Internet from Verizon. One day you open up your web browser only to find that you have to PAY to use Google. In fact, you have to pay to use any search engine that's not Yahoo. Sounds like a nightmare, right? Well, that's just one of the many things that could happen if the FCC dismantles our current Net Neutrality laws.

Net Neutrality is what stops your ISP (Internet Service Provider) from controlling what you can access online. It's what stops companies like Verizon from charging you for access to certain websites, from slowing down streaming services (like Netflix) that compete with their own streaming services, or from blocking certain websites entirely. Net Neutrality laws force ISPs to treat all online traffic sources equally.

And here's where the repeal of Net Neutrality gets really dangerous: it means your ISP could potentially control what/how much information you can access. Going back to the Verizon example, let's say they implement a "tier" system for Internet access. The more you pay, the more freely you can access information on the web. The less you pay, the more restricted your access is to only what Verizon chooses to promote.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web, puts it best in this Opinion Piece he wrote for the Wall Street Journal*:

"Net neutrality allowed me to invent the World Wide Web without having to ask anyone for permission or pay a fee to ensure that people could use my idea. Now imagine what would happen if internet service providers—usually a handful of big cable companies that control the connectivity market—were allowed to violate net neutrality. Their gatekeeping powers could be used to require businesses and individuals to pay a premium to ensure their content is delivered on equal terms—or even at all. This would create barriers that disadvantage small businesses and startups across all sectors that rely on the internet in any way."

*If you do not have an account or subscription to the WSJ, the article was also posted on The World Wide Web Foundation

Protect Net Neutrality. Keep the Internet free and openly accessible to the public. — FCC Comments Page

  • Click on the 17-108 link (Restoring Internet Freedom) 
  • Click on "+Express" in the lower left-hand side
  • Make sure to hit "ENTER" after you type in your name (your name will then feature a Yellow box) and then put in the rest of your information
  • In the comment section write why you oppose the repeal of net neutrality. If you are struggling to think of something to say, here's a suggestion: "I strongly support net neutrality backed by Title 2 oversight of ISPs." (Short, sweet, and to the point. Thanks, John Oliver!) 
  • Click on Review, then Submit and you're done! (Remember to hit SUBMIT at the end!) — Call or Write Your Representative in Congress — Have your Text or Facebook Message turned into a fax sent directly to your Representative in Congress