Net Neutrality. The term is all the rage. Again. So is the rage. Again.
Profs Do Pop is a forum for popular culture. However, underlying the entire concept of popular culture are the principles of access and the free flow of communication and information. In our online world, that’s the principle of Net Neutrality. No matter what you want to find on the internet – from social media sites, to streaming on Netflix, to shopping, to online audio, to your favorite online game, etc. – Net Neutrality means that all the sites you visit are treated equally. All sites are equally available. No one site is favored over another. In this world, you have the same access to Profs Do Pop as you do CNN. Net Neutrality is a simple concept.
John Oliver lays out the concept in his informative and hilarious way:
The FCC again wants to overturn Net Neutrality, allowing Internet Service Providers (AT&T, Comcast, Spectrum, etc.) to pick and choose what sites you can access and at what speeds and to be able to charge you more. That’s completely unreasonable.
This is bad for consumers, as Business Insider reports. It is also bad economically, as pointed out in Wired. The only winners here are the cable companies, some of America’s most hated companies with the worst customer service, according to PC Magazine. If you don’t think Net Neutrality will effect you, take a look at this article, which shows how Comcast throttled Netflix in 2013-2014 before the Net Neutrality rules went into effect. Yes. It was bad.
We already had this fight to maintain Net Neutrality back in 2015. Those who wanted to chop up the Internet into smaller pieces for higher prices lost. Yet, here we are again, two years later.
How did Net Neutrality advocates win the last battle? That’s the topic of a 2016 special section in the International Journal of Communication. As the Introduction by Lentz and Perlman notes:
We sought to shine a light not primarily on the rationales for network neutrality but rather on the work required to achieve this sort of policy outcome. The fight for network neutrality in the United States, accordingly, operates as an extended and multifaceted case study to reveal the labors involved in policy advocacy. (p. 5572)
The special section contains three interesting interviews: former FCC Commissioner Micheal Copps; Gene Kimmelman, CEO of Public Knowledge; Helen Brunner, founder of the media Democracy Fund. From there, seven research articles investigate how those favoring and advocating for Net Neutrality won that fight. And that’s important, because we are fighting this fight again.
Finally, I want to urge you to support Net Neutrality. The following will take you less than a minute to do.
- On your computer, NOT your phone*, go to: www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express
- Enter under Proceeding the numbers 17-108.
- In comments, say you support Title 2 oversight of ISPs and say that you support net neutrality.
*Fill in the form carefully; they’ve made it less friendly and impossible to fill in by phone, on purpose.
Protect your Internet. Protect your freedom.