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Final Day To Comment on Net Neutrality

by Countable | 8.30.17

What’s the story?

You have less than 24 hours to let the FCC know your feelings about net neutrality.

At 12:00 AM EDT Wednesday night, the Federal Communications Commission will close the comments section on whether or not to roll back net neutrality rules.

Comments can be filed here.

Why does it matter?

The idea of net neutrality is that all internet traffic should be free to run at equal speeds. Some large internet service providers (ISPs) support rules that would allow them to prioritize or speed-up the communications of certain sites over others, or even block some sites. Under current law, ISPs like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T are barred from dictating which sites their clients may access, or throttle-down the speed of certain sites.

To better understand this theory in practice, consider Comcast, just one of many large companies that delivers the internet to millions of Americans. Comcast is affiliated with television producer NBC. Without net neutrality rules, Comcast would be free to promote NBC’s content over ABC’s, and/or provide slower load times for ABC.com. The internet is currently an open superhighway; without net neutrality, that highway could have fast and slow lanes.

ISPs promised the FCC they’d never engage in such behavior. Still, in 2015 the FCC crafted regulations to bar ISPs from throttling speeds and giving preference to some sites over others. Now, President Trump’s appointee to head the FCC, Ajit Pai, has proposed reversing these regulations.

Pai said the rules unfairly burden the ISPs, especially "mom and pop" ones, and that the government should not preemptively impose regulations on ISPs. Others have made the argument that consumers who use "less internet" shouldn’t be charged the same price as those who, say, binge on shows streamed from Netflix and Hulu.

In mid-July, thousands of companies and websites took part in the Day of Action To Save Net Neutrality in an effort to show users what the cyber-world could look like if the Trump administration succeeds in rolling-back Obama-era net neutrality regulations.

A week later, the White House gave a thumbs up for overturning net neutrality rules to the dismay of the activists.

"The administration believes that rules of the road are important for everyone—website providers, Internet service providers, and consumers alike," White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters. She said the Obama administration, which supported net neutrality, "went about this the wrong way by imposing rules on ISPs through the FCC's" legislative powers.

What do you think?

Should the web remain neutral? Or should ISPs treat the internet more like cable TV, offering tiered payment plans for the sites and apps you use? Hit the Take Action button and tell your Reps. And be sure to leave your comments at the FCC before midnight!

—Josh Herman

RELATED READING

The Battle for The Net: Big Sites Go Slow to Protest Trump Net Neutrality Changes

Rollback of Net Neutrality to Move Forward Next Week

Trump Admin Seeks to Upend Net Neutrality

(Photo Credit:bonetta / iStockphoto)

Countable

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