Net Neutrality: What You Need to Know Now

Note: Trump’s mission in almost every instance is more rights for big business at the expense of individual Americans. And that’s making America “great”? I think not! Below is an excerpt from “InfoWorld” followed by an explanation from Free Press about Net Neutrality.  

Heather Gray
Justice Initiative International
  

Now that Trump has taken office and is adorning his cabinet with fellow millionaires and billionaires, net neutrality is on the chopping block. The principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally is all but dead. With net neutrality, Amazon, for example, can’t cut a deal with Time Warner to make its website come up faster than Walmart’s. For all the talk of being for the common man, this administration won’t stand in the way of big businesses making deals.
What the end of net neutrality means for you
By Andrew C. Oliver,  InfoWorld

Jan 26, 2017  
 
Net Neutrality: What You Need to Know Now

Free Press
April 2017

Activists inside the FCC April 2017

The Federal Communications Commission’s historic Net Neutrality rules keep the internet free and open – allowing you to share and access information of your choosing without interference from companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon.

This victory came thanks to the millions of activists who fought for a decade to protect the open internet. But right now this win is in jeopardy: The Trump administration and new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai want to get rid of Net Neutrality.

What is Net Neutrality?
Net Neutrality is the internet’s guiding principle: It preserves our right to communicate freely online.

Net Neutrality means an internet that enables and protects free speech. It means that ISPs should provide us with open networks – and shouldn’t block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks. Just as your phone company shouldn’t decide who you call and what you say on that call, your ISP shouldn’t interfere with the content you view or post online.

Without Net Neutrality, cable and phone companies could carve the internet into fast and slow lanes. An ISP could slow down its competitors’ content or block political opinions it disagreed with. ISPs could charge extra fees to the few content companies that could afford to pay for preferential treatment – relegating everyone else to a slower tier of service. This would destroy the open internet.

How did we get strong Net Neutrality rules?
In May 2014, then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler released a plan that would have allowed internet service providers to discriminate online and create pay-to-play fast lanes.

Millions of you spoke out – and fought back.

Thanks to the huge public and political outcry, Wheeler shelved his original proposal, and on Feb. 4, 2015, he announced that he would base new Net Neutrality rules on Title II of the Communications Act, giving internet users the strongest protections possible.

The FCC approved the new rules on Feb. 26, 2015.

But ever since then opponents have done everything they can to destroy Net Neutrality. And Chairman Pai – a former Verizon lawyer – is moving fast to destroy the open internet.

Who’s attacking Net Neutrality?
Big phone and cable companies and their lobbyists filed suit almost as soon as the Net Neutrality rules were adopted. Free Press jumped in and helped argue the case defending the FCC – and on June 14, 2016, a federal appeals court upheld the open-internet protections in all respects.

Meanwhile, industry-funded Net Neutrality opponents in Congress have done everything they can  to dismantle or undermine the rules. Legislators have introduced numerous deceptive bills and attached damaging riders to must-pass government-funding bills. So far Net Neutrality activists have defeated all of these attempts to sabotage the FCC protections.

Why is Net Neutrality crucial for communities of color?
The open internet allows people of color to tell their own stories and organize for racial and social justice. When activists are able to turn out thousands of people in the streets at a moment’s notice, it’s because ISPs aren’t allowed to block their messages or websites.

The mainstream media have long misrepresented, ignored and harmed people of color. And thanks to systemic racism, economic inequality and runaway media consolidation, people of color own just a handful of broadcast stations. The lack of diverse ownership is a primary reason why the media have gotten away with criminalizing and otherwise stereotyping communities of color.

The open internet allows people of color and other vulnerable communities to bypass traditional media gatekeepers. Without Net Neutrality, ISPs could block speech and prevent dissident voices from speaking freely online. Without Net Neutrality, people of color would lose a vital platform.

And without Net Neutrality, millions of small businesses owned by people of color wouldn’t be able to compete against larger corporations online, which would deepen economic disparities.

Activists outside the FCC April 2017

Why is Net Neutrality important for businesses?
Net Neutrality is crucial for small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs, who rely on the open internet to launch their businesses, create markets, advertise their products and services, and reach customers. We need the open internet to foster job growth, competition and innovation.

Net Neutrality lowers the barriers of entry by preserving the internet’s fair and level playing field. It’s because of Net Neutrality that small businesses and entrepreneurs have been able to thrive online.

No company should be allowed to interfere with this open marketplace. ISPs are the internet’s gatekeepers, and without Net Neutrality, they would seize every possible opportunity to profit from that gatekeeper position.

Without Net Neutrality, the next Google or Facebook would never get off the ground.

What can we do now?
Chairman Pai wants to replace the agency’s strong rules with “voluntary” conditions that no ISP would ever comply with. Pai unveiled his plan in a closed-door meeting with industry lobbyists in April 2017 and intends to move on it soon.

The Trump administration is doing everything in its power to clamp down on dissent. If we lose Net Neutrality, it will have succeeded.

Millions have already taken a stand to defend our rights to connect and communicate. Take action now and join the fight.
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