FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has penned a proposal that will gut the current net neutrality laws, effectively authorizing cable and phone companies to discriminate among websites, charging the current Web giants for “fast lanes” while keeping the rest of us in a “slow lane.”
Here’s how the death of net neutrality is going to kill your internet, blow by blow:
Under Wheeler’s proposal, cable and phone companies such as Verizon, AT&T, and Time Warner Cable will be able to make preferred deals with the companies that can afford to pay high fees for better service, and even be allowed to make exclusive deals with preferred sites.
In the absence of net neutrality, the FCC will allow cable and phone companies to start making different deals with thousands or millions of websites, and charging premiums to the sites that need to load quickly and reliably. So, users might notice that Netflix or Hulu works better than Amazon Prime, while start-up net video sites like InRavio or Black Flag TV will go the way of the dinosaur. Without net neutrality, fledgling sites will be unable to compete with established giants.
So to put this in perspective, if net neutrality had been axed 8 or 9 years ago, we would all be using MySpace, not Facebook, because Facebook would have been unable to compete.
It gets worse.
By providing a so-called “fast lane” for carriers to hike fees on sites trying to reach customers, it means that we will continuously start paying more to use each of those sites. Imagine paying a fee for your ISP, and then paying a separate tariff for Google, and then Facebook, and so on, and so on, ad nauseum, ad infinitum.
The end of net neutrality means the death of your internet.
This is what happens when you take a former cable and wireless industry lobbyist and put him in charge of the FCC. By killing net neutrality, Tom Wheeler is handing the entire internet over to telecommunication companies that grew huge through the government granting them monopoly status. His people, in short.
Right now, advocacy groups on both the right and left side, ranging from the ACLU, to the Government Accountability Project, to the PEN American Center, to Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting and the National Hispanic Media Coalition have urged the FCC to do the right thing, and save net neutrality. The “Save the Internet” coalition has a track record of rapidly mobilizing Americans to thwart wrongheaded moves by the US government.
They’re already scrambling to save net neutrality, with a petition urging Wheeler’s FCC to “restore the principle of online nondiscrimination by reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service.”
This isn’t the first time that The Powers That Be have tried to kill net neutrality, but if you still want to keep having a voice, then the time to speak out loud is now.