Last week FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler wrote an op-ed piece for Wired explaining how he intends that the FCC will insure Net Neutrality.
His support of Net Neutrality came just a week after President Obama emphasized his intention to protect a “free and open Internet” in his State of the Union address where he stressed the importance of high-speed internet access nation-wide when he stated:
“I intend to protect a free and open Internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.”
We all expected the positive affirmation of the importance of Net Neutrality from Obama. He is a lame duck president who is now in the position to say what the people want to hear because he knows his hands are tied by the Republicans who control both the House and Senate and have resisted his decisions at every turn.
Wheeler’s support, however, came as a surprise to many because the FCC has lately been favoring the demands of big business. Internet service providers and Republicans have been fiercely fighting against Net Neutrality which is scheduled to be voted on by the commissioners of the FCC on February 26th. There did not appear to be enough internal support to secure it until now.
Unfortunately, should Net Neutrality get the green light from the FCC, Congress does have the opportunity to undermine their authority with new legislation.
The FCC intends to reclassify the internet as a utility which will give the commission jurisdiction to protect consumers by regulating the service providers to guarantee that internet is fast, fair and accessible to everyone.
Congress wants the internet to remain an “information service” which will minimize regulations on service providers in hopes that “competition” will level the playing field for consumers.
It does not take a rocket scientist know that we can’t count on big business to be concerned about what is fair for the consumer. The bottom line is their only concern. It is obvious that the internet needs to be fairly regulated if we truly expect it to be free and open to everyone.
The public has been very vocal about protecting the internet. Their ferocity has been compelling enough to sway the FCC thus far. Now is not the time to stop defending Net Neutrality. We must all do our part to demand that Congress support it by nagging them until Net Neutrality is confirmed.
Michael Goodwin Ian Akin Net Neutrality Comic
If you need to be educated about Net Neutrality this link on Popular Resistance has a great comic by Michael Goodwin and artist Ian Akin that does a wonderful job of explaining why it is so important.
If you are a fan of Web Comics, know that Net Neutrality is important to every comic creator that delivers comics on the internet. Without Net Neutrality, data heavy comics will be relegated to the dreaded slow lane unless they are provided by a company that can afford the prestigious fast lane. The freedom that we have enjoyed populating the internet with great comics that might otherwise never be published by major publishers will be strangled. As hard as it is now to build an audience or possibly generate revenue, it will become nearly impossible without Net Neutrality. This is true of everything that depends on the internet to reach any audience or consumers.
So please, don’t just be pleasantly surprised by President Obama or FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s warm and fuzzy support of Net Neutrality. Continue to demand that Congress understands how important it is to the future of this country’s education, information, creativity and economy.
Remember, the internet has also given us strength to the voice that we need to protect our freedoms, do not allow it to be controlled by big business service providers. Use the free and open internet to contact your Representative to Congress today.