December 7th, 2017
To read the full op-ed at SCVNews.com, click here
While many people are busy with the end of year rush and making holiday plans, the Federal Communications Commission is poised to eliminate net neutrality and flip the online world we know upside-down in favor of giant corporations.
Net neutrality is the idea that all Internet traffic and all Internet users should be treated equally. This allows you and me to turn on our iPhones, laptops or connected televisions and visit any website we want — whether Facebook, YouTube, Netflix or SCVnews.com — and load those websites or videos at the same speed.
Eliminating net neutrality, however, would allow Internet service providers such as Verizon, Comcast, Spectrum and AT&T to create a “slow lane” and a “fast lane” on the Internet – prioritizing certain companies over others and dictating what websites you’re able to visit and at what speed, or even blocking you entirely from visiting certain websites of your choice.
There is only a handful of Internet providers in the U.S., and as those of us here know, we really have only a couple options to choose from. These corporations already enjoy near monopolies and the power — and profits — that come with that. Back in March, Congress, including our own congressman, Steve Knight, voted to let these Internet providers sell our browsing history. Now Washington wants to give those same corporations even more power by letting them charge us more money for worse service?
Eliminating net neutrality will also hurt small businesses and stifle innovation. Start-ups won’t be able to afford to pay these Internet providers for faster speeds, giving an advantage to the more established, deep-pocketed companies that pay money to hold their challengers down.
Even small businesses that don’t primarily sell products online often still use the online market to expand their reach and make ends meet. Ending net neutrality will add an extra barrier to entry and increase the cost of doing business online for every small business in our community.
The Internet has always been a place for free and open dialogue, where start-ups spur innovation, where a talented teenager can become an online sensation, where you can relax on a Saturday night bingeing your favorite new series. Without net neutrality, Internet providers will have the power to stifle free speech and suppress viewpoints that don’t align with their own.
The FCC commissioners are voting on this rule change Dec. 14. Call, fax, tweet, mail or email the FCC and demand they support net neutrality.
If that doesn’t work, we need to keep the pressure on Congress, which could pass legislation overruling the FCC’s decision and permanently protect net neutrality. Challenge Congressman Steve Knight to once and for all stand with us, rather than his corporate special interests, and save net neutrality.