At the time of this writing, we have four days to save the internet. On December 14, the FCC will vote to repeal Net Neutrality, effectively destroying the internet as we know it. Here’s what that means for you and here’s how you can make your voice heard to prevent it.
What is Net Neutrality?
“Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.”
Under current legislation, you pay X dollars a month to have complete freedom to roam the web. Think about all the websites you visit in a day. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your various email accounts (I personally have four, through two different email providers), different news sites, Dictionary.com. You visit sites to shop online, even if it’s just to add a bunch of items to your cart and then close out of the window. How do you entertain yourself? Through Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, Pandora, YouTube.Think about all the apps you have on your phone and all of the ones you use on a daily basis that require an internet connection. Currently, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), such as Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, among others, only charge you one fee to access the entirety of the internet. Sure, you might have to pay for some of your subscriptions, like Netflix, Spotify, and it costs money to view more than 4 New York Times articles in a month, but those fees are charged by each individual company.
What happens if Net Neutrality is repealed?
Glad you asked. So now that you’ve had some time to think about all the various things you use your internet for, here’s what will happen if we lose Net Neutrality.
Take Netflix for example. Currently, you pay about $55 per month for your internet. You also pay about $10 a month for Netflix. If Net Neutrality is repealed, you will not only pay the base fee of $55/month, PLUS $10/month for Netflix, but you will ALSO pay an additional $10/month to be allowed access to Netflix through your ISP.
And that will happen with every single website you visit on a daily basis. So now instead of paying $55/month plus your subscription costs, you’re now paying hundreds of dollars a month for internet access, access to certain sites through your ISP, and the cost of the subscription itself. Fun, right?
Another implication this could have is your internet speed. There are already tiered internet packages through ISPs. This means that you pay $55/month for medium speed internet. If Net Neutrality is repealed, you’ll have slow internet, and even if you pay for access to certain websites, your ISP could slow down that website even further, which would then prompt you to purchase a “boost” in order to actually access the website.
For example, let’s say your current ISP is Verizon, but you want to switch to AT&T. Without Net Neutrality, Verizon will not only be able to force you to pay a fee to access AT&T’s website but could also charge you an additional fee to speed up the internet speed when accessing AT&T so you’re not experiencing dial-up era internet speeds.
Why should I care?
Most importantly, the repeal of Net Neutrality is a direct violation of your first amendment rights. In case you enshrine the Constitution only as an intangible ideal, let’s review what the first amendment says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The repeal of Net Neutrality is censorship. It will hinder your ability to speak freely. Whichever side of the aisle you’re on, think about the content you share on Facebook about this politician or that bill or those issues. Repealing Net Neutrality would make that discussion significantly harder. Think about the press: everything is digital. What would the repeal of Net Neutrality mean for the Odyssey? Probably not good things. How do people plan and organize peaceful assemblies? Through the internet. How am I petition the Government right now? That’s right: through the internet.
This isn’t a partisan issue. I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, Republican, Conservative, Liberal. Progressive, Libertarian, Socialist: THIS DIRECTLY AFFECTS YOU. If you use the internet, this is your problem.
What can I do?
I’m glad that you’re inspired to take action. Here are some simple things you can do to make your voice heard.
Sign these petitions.
Visit these websites.
And follow these steps:
1. Click on the 17-108 link (Restoring Internet Freedom)
2. Click on “express”
3. Be sure to hit “ENTER” after you put in your name & info so it registers.
4. In the comment section write, “I strongly support net neutrality backed by Title 2 oversight of ISPs.”
5. Click to submit, done. - Make sure you hit submit at the end!
Contact your Congresspeople.
Text RESIST to 50409 and resistbot will guide you through the process.
Call, email, even tweet them.
In Montana, we have Senator Jon Tester (D), Senator Steve Daines (R) , and Representative Greg Gianforte (R) .
Email the FCC.
Ajit Pai, Chairman
Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner
Michael O'Rielly, Commissioner
Brendan Carr, Commissioner
Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner
This is our last chance. Even just one of these actions could have the long term effect of saving Net Neutrality. Now is the time to do something before we lose the internet as we know it forever.