Would you want to live in a world where the electric company charges you extra fees if you plug in a fridge from a brand that THEY don’t like? Or how about having to pay extra just to have the luxury of using both a microwave AND a coffee maker? What I’ve described just there sounds pretty absurd, but it’s exactly what will happen to the free and open internet if the FCC has it’s way. Currently, US internet service providers are not allowed to prioritize or restrict access to certain parts of the net. Bits on the wire are just that: bits on the wire. It doesn’t matter if that data came from Youtube, or CNN, or the blog of a small-town reporter.
This is called Net neutrality, and its existence ensures that ISPs cannot favour certain kinds of content over others. If net neutrality dies, then ISPs like Comcast can decide that you don’t actually need to visit Youtube, since you can just use their online video service. You don’t need CNN, or the small-town blogger as sources of news, because their front page has all the news that’s fit to read. They can do this through network throttling - were they make it inaccessibly slow to get to those sites, or they could block them completely. Is this the kind of internet that you want?
The internet is one of mankinds greatest of achievments. Nearly the entirity of the world’s collective knowledge is but a mere click away. In no other time in history has the sharing of information been so barrier free. Like the printing press before it, and the radio and television after that, the internet was a game changer for how we communicate, learn, discover. Don’t throw it away. Fight for a free, fair, and neutral internet. Here’s a website with information about how you can help keep the internet free and fair for everyone.
Non-US citizens: help the cause by making some noise. Share, blog, upvote on reddit, whatever. Help spread this as far and as wide as we can get it. As a Canadian citizen, if the time comes to fight for a neutral Canadian internet, I’d be overjoyed to have global support. Let’s help our US brothers and sisters.