Today is the last day US citizens can make their voices heard in the fight for net neutrality, or at least the last day the FCC will accept comments before the final voting process.
Whether those comments mean anything or not is up for debate, but if you’ve got something to say you’d better make it quick.
The FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, is expected to do everything within his power to ensure that net neutrality goes away — but just maybe the 20 million-plus comments already placed, and the thousands of companies who joined to fight for it, have made a difference.
I wouldn’t get my hopes up, though.
Pai is the FCC chairman who put a stop to investigations into zero rating practices by the big phone companies. Zero rating is when an ISP designates specific content as free, meaning the data it uses doesn’t count against a data cap.
In theory this sounds great. You’d think “more free data” meant you got more data, and that it was free. That’s not necessarily the case.
If the ISPs have total control over what can and cannot be counted as “free data” then they choose what content is and isn’t accessible. Instead of all data being equal, the big companies have a clear cash advantage — and this means smaller content providers would have no chance to compete.
That’s the crux of the net neutrality argument; the government wants providers to voluntarily provide net neutrality – in other words it expects T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T to use the honor system when it comes to providing a free and open internet. The problem: net neutrality doesn’t pay as well as the other option.
And what does an internet without net neutrality look like?
Well, If you really love how the cable and satellite TV companies take all the channels you actually want to watch and spread them out over several bundles — each more expensive than the last — don’t worry about net neutrality.
However, if by chance you can’t stand the fact that in order to get the twenty channels you actually want to watch, a subscription to various packages that end up giving you 285 channels you don’t give a shit about is required: go here and click on “+ New Filing / + Express” to let the FCC know you want net neutrality.
Here’s hoping the FCC puts corporate interests aside and serves the interests of the American people.