What/Who is the FCC?
The FCC is Federal Communications Commission. They are the agency that governs and regulates the telecommunications industry in the United States (this includes the Internet).
What is net neutrality? Why does it matter?
Net neutrality is the idea that the Internet should be accessible to anyone with no discrimination, no blocking, no censorship, and no “slow lanes”. This principle has been a widely considered around the world as a standard for access to the Internet. Also called the “first amendment of the Internet”, net neutrality is a defining free speech issue with the Internet becoming an essential part of society.
What is the FCC proposing to do to the Internet? Why is it important?
The FCC is proposing new Internet policies that would allow Internet providers like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon, charge other websites, companies and other online services an extra fee – or else Internet users will have their access to those websites slowed down. This policy would make the Internet a “pay-to-play” service – basically if you don’t have the extra money to pay Comcast or Verizon, your internet will be slowed down and put in the “slow lane”.
The Internet is a space where users freely share information and communicate. The premise that Internet access should be equal for all has been a globally adopted principle of the Internet called net neutrality. If we lose the net neutrality and the “openness” of the Internet, we’ll lose our right to free speech and expression on the Internet.
(from http://www.occupythefcc.com/#faqs )
I’m unclear about the specifics of a claim that they will also be able to discriminate based on content – it’s extremely vague and I’m not finding anything to clarify it – but once they can start discriminating on any basis, it does open the door for other issues.
Even though this is being done in the US, via the FCC, it will affect the ENTIRE Internet. For some reason the FCC feels they are entitled to define the rules of the Internet for the entire global community. (That I’m Canadian isn’t the only reason that pisses me off.)
Various ISPs have proven that it has nothing to do with the big companies being unable to keep up with the load. Someone I trust who keeps up with this stuff assures me that we’re only using about 20% of the full capacity of the current infrastructure.
This is a blatant grab for control of the entire Internet, turning it from a free democracy into a system of privilege and permission.
Even most of the major sites object to it: Amazon, Cogent, Dropbox, Ebay, Etsy, Facebook, Foursquare, Google, Kickstarter, Level 3, LinkedIn, Lyft, Microsoft, Netflix, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, Vonage Holdings Corp., Yahoo! Inc., Zynga all signed a letter protesting it.
So… pick a link for what you can do. But do it fast. Vote is this Thursday.
(sorry – sign the petition and they’ll send you further email – just unsubscribe from the first one you get, they actually do honour that)
If you want to do some further research, you can search for “net neutrality fcc” to get started. (But keep in mind please, what the FCC and its head are saying is mostly in contradiction to what they’re actually proposing, and also that not charging users premiums is very different from not charging sites premiums).