As many of you will have heard by now, the FCC has voted 3 to 2 in favor of repealing net neutrality laws. The laws were put in place to prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from controlling what content you are able to access on the internet based on how much you pay. They also prevent ISPs from creating paid “fast lanes” that would prioritize certain content based solely on how much the content creators pay.
Many across the internet are upset by the possibility that they may have to pay extra for social media, gaming, and more. I want so shine a light on some of the significant ways that the repeal of net neutrality can impact your daily life. That’s why I teamed up with some of the other Obilisk writers to talk about what net neutrality means to us.
A free and open internet is everything to me. I discovered my passion for writing thanks entirely to online gaming sites like Obilisk. And it was Obilisk that gave me a platform to reach people across the world. That platform may not be able to continue to exist without net neutrality keeping ISPs from slowing or blocking access to small sites like ours. In addition, I may not be able to take online classes to continue my education without paying extra for access to sites that I use to do my school work. My whole future is built around and reliant on net neutrality. I will not stand idly by while our rights are stripped from us.
“So many of my dreams and passions are intrinsically tied to the internet. So much of what I love and am good at is connected to the internet. I’ve worked on countless blogs and social media platforms over the years, and now I’m pouring my heart and soul into Obilisk and have been lucky enough to watch it prosper alongside my incredible team over the past year. To think that all of this — all my hopes and aspirations — could be seriously crippled by the greedy decision to repeal net neutrality is devastating, to say the least. Nobody wants this, and we have to fight to stop it from happening.”
“It’s so much more than just paying extra for my social media and streaming apps that I’ve come to rely on way too much in my daily life. To me, net neutrality is my job. As a writer, my content is published online — as it always will be. Whether in journalism, media, or advertising, my job — like so many others in virtually every industry — hinges on small to midsize businesses having a chance to thrive in the competitive world of digital industry. Repealing net neutrality is yet another shadow of doubt I feel on me when I walk into work, especially as an entry level employee trying to pay her dues.”
“Net neutrality is important to me because I’m a human being. I use Google, news sites, and social media every day. Without unrestricted access to the internet, I won’t be able to access JSTOR or other online databases for my scholarly research. I won’t be able to do my job as a writer for Obilisk. I won’t be able to apply for jobs, since most applications are now online. I won’t be able to access whatever news site I need, whenever I need it. Now that we live in a world where the government wants to restrict access to information, net neutrality is more important than ever.”
The internet is part of everything we do. If you weren’t concerned before, maybe some of these messages from our team hit home. Although the FCC has made their decision, it is not too late to save net neutrality. Contact your congressman or congresswoman and let them know that you stand for a free and open internet. Only by refusing to be silent can we make our voices heard.
States have already begun to push back against this change in legislation. Many have taken steps to try to pass state level net neutrality laws. Although their actions are a good start, states would still be in a legislative battle with federal laws. Every state law that gets passed on this matter will undoubtedly be challenged in federal court.
Another net neutrality battle taking place is over the GOP proposed Open Internet Preservation Act. This bill would prevent the blocking or slowing of lawful sites by ISPs. That sounds good at first, provided that you only visit sites that are on the up and up. However, this bill is omitting a vital protection from the original legislation. This bill would not ban paid prioritization of sites, which is an important loop hole that could easily lead to certain sites being the only usable option. In addition, this bill reclassifies ISPs from telecom companies to information companies. This is an important distinction because the FCC has very limited ability to control the latter. Finally, this bill would block states from drafting their own net neutrality legislation. That would make it very difficult for us to regain the protections that we once had.
As you can see, the fight for net neutrality is a battle being fought on many fronts. It’s clear that we will be waiting a while to see how it will all play out. I hope for all of our sakes that our representatives in Washington make the right choices.
We also want to hear what net neutrality means to you. Please tell us in the comments below.