On July 17th, the fate of the internet will be decided as the FCC makes plans to rollback the policy of Net Neutrality, and it needs your help to survive..
Net Neutrality may sound familiar. The term is used to describe the basic philosophy that access to the internet is open and fair.
"The current rules ban internet service providers from treating internet traffic differently, based on the source. They're meant to ensure corporate interests don't get favorable treatment."
Many internet service providers own, or are owned by, media companies and streaming services. For example, Comcast, the largest in-home ISP in the United States, owns NBC, cable news network MSNBC, movie studio Universal Pictures, and even The Weather Channel.
Without the regulation, Comcast could decide to slow down access to everything they don't own. That means, they could decide what you watch, where you get your news, what movies you see, even where you get the weather!
But would Comcast really do that?
In 2014, Comcast and Verizon, were slowing down Netflix so much, Netflix had to pay Comcast for direct access to their network because they were losing too many subscribers.
It was shake-downs like this that led to the Obama Administration putting Net Neutrality regulations into place in 2015. The culture of the internet has always been highly democratic. Anyone can become famous overnight, a funny video can become a media empire, we are free to share and share alike.
However, this regulation that keeps data unregulated is in trouble. Trump-appointed Head of the FCC Ajit Pai is leading the charge to overturn the 2015 changes in favor of a hands-off approach. Pai appeared on PBS Newshour this year to defend his plan to kill Net Neutrality.
When asked the question —"I want to pose a hypothetical to you: Let's say Comcast created a new TV series, and it just so happened that it competed with a Netflix series very similarly. If these rules go away, how is there not an incredible incentive for Comcast to slow Netflix down coming into my house....and make their video, the Comcast video, very robust?", his response was "So, under that hypothetical, one of the things to remember is that it is a hypothetical."
But it actually happened! It's the reason for the regulations you are trying to get rid of!
So, what are the benefits to rolling back regulation? Pai argues that the heavy-handed regulations make it tougher for small businesses to compete. However, rolling back Net Neutrality would mean small businesses of all kinds would have trouble competing in the online marketplace.
Currently, the FCC has extended their deadline for comments on their proposal. Democrats, led by Senator Al Franken, have a different strategy.
PC Magazine reports, "Franken, along with 12 other senators, are actually encouraging the FCC to go the re-classification route. That is, re-classify broadband as a telecom service rather than an information service, which would give the FCC more direct authority over the nation's Internet service providers."
So, the opposing idea to gutting the regulations is to give more power to the FCC. Which is currently being controlled by Ajit Pai, who wants to gut the regulations.
If you want to make your voice heard, John Oliver from Last Week Tonight has got you covered. He said on his show the he bought the URL gofccyourself.com, so log on and lodge some complaints, alright buddy? Yeah, go save the internet buddy. I believe in you.
Are you worried for the future of the internet? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.