Federal Communication Commission(FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler waits for a hearing at the FCC December 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
The American Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is scheduled to vote on net neutrality on 26 Februrary, 2015. This decision could affect every single person who uses the Internet in America, and possibly beyond.
What is net neutrality? It’s the idea that internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, regardless of whose it is or what equipment they use. For example, it would mean that Google couldn’t decide to block Yahoo from its search engines, or that AOL couldn’t decide to let Walmart’s website come up quickly because they paid a large fee while it slows down the website of a small business or individual who cannot afford it. (Note these companies are used as examples; we are not implying these particular companies are doing this. But a few companies are.)
There’s been a push on Congress by large corporations and special interest groups to get favored treatment at the expense of others. Fortunately, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler just announced he wants a “fast, fair and open” Internet for Americans. A decision by the FCC and Congress backing this could get the Internet classified as a public utility.
While over 4 million signatures have been gained in support of net neutrality, some large corporations and special interest groups are still pushing for control over what has become the largest public communication system in the world. Congress is considering the Thune-Upton bill which could strip away Internet freedom in a manner that could actually threaten freedom of speech.
President Barack Obama wrote about net neutrality that “an entrepreneur’s fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations, and that access to a high school student’s blog shouldn’t be unfairly slowed down to make way for advertisers with more money.”
Read Tom Wheelter’s statement.
To send a message to congress in support of net neutrality (through the ACLU website), go HERE.
To sign a petition, do an Internet search for “net neutrality petition.” There is more than one available for your support.