Friday, February 27, 2015 at 5:09 AM

FCC: Long Live Net Neutrality!

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

As I followed public debate on net neutrality over the past few years, the number of people who pleaded ignorance about the issues and consequences stupefied me.

For it struck me, from the outset, that keeping the Internet open and free, which is the principle behind net neutrality, is as basic a democratic imperative as equal pay.

This is why it did not surprise me that big “old” corporations (most notably Internet Service Providers AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast) wanted to screw people by turning the Internet into a de facto pay-to-play universe. These are the same corporations, after all, that have been screwing women (so to speak) by refusing to give them equal pay for equal work since time immemorial.

Consumers have long been guaranteed the right to call any phone number they desire and phone companies have to treat all calls equally.

(Yahoo! Finance, February 26, 2015)

Based on the same principle, Internet Service Providers should be required to treat all logons equally. Net neutrality really is that simple.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler greets commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel at the FCC Net Neutrality hearing in Washington

Therefore, despite all of the posturing by politicians and lobbyists — who are little more than vassals of corporate America, I never doubted that this Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would do the right thing. Not least because it was inconceivable that an FCC composed of five Obama appointees would codify discrimination in favor of big corporations. This, after all, would betray the abiding mission of his presidency, which is to level playing fields and increase opportunities for the poor and historically disadvantaged.

How shrewd of these commissioners, though, to fashion a 3-2 decision to provide some consolation for these big losers. But seriously, as with the composition of the Supreme Court, one should bear the composition of the FCC in mind when voting for president. Because there’s no gainsaying that, if these were five McCain or Romney appointees, net neutrality would now be dead, and the Internet segregated and costly.

So here’s to this (Obama) FCC for voting to keep net neutrality alive, and the Internet open and free:

That means sites like Netflix (NFLX) or Google’s (GOOGL) YouTube won’t have to pay extra fees or face sluggish connections with their users. And new sites and services will be able to reach everyone on the Internet on the same terms as the big players.

(Yahoo! Finance, February 26, 2015)

This latter point is particularly germane. Because it means that you’ll be able to continue accessing and browsing my little rinky-dinky site with ease; whereas without net neutrality, your experience could suddenly become as backward as it was during the good old days of AOL dial-ups.

In other words, if like me you’re a Mac user, just imagine trying to access your favorite site and having to watch as that “Spinning Beachball of Death” spins, for longer than cable companies put you on hold, before any page loads. That’s what your life online would be without net neutrality.


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