Fact vs Myth – Part 2 – The End of a Neutral Internet is Nigh


You’ll recall from part 1 of this series, that I’d posted the following to my personal Facebook page.

Well, life is good for corporations now. Lots of tax breaks for them and none for those of us who are working the hardest.

  • Higher taxes on the middle class & working poor
  • End of a neutral internet
  • Racism inherent at the highest levels of government
  • Destabilized medical insurance markets
  • White supremacists being legitimized by the White House

Next up, Medicare cut by over 60% and retirement age goes up to 70.

Later, someone whom I’ve known for a little while stated, “I don’t believe any of this is true.” It was from someone who I have previously regarded as a reasonable person who is quite intelligent. To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement.  Now I’m setting out to prove each one of these things that is coming because, evidently some folks refuse to believe that the smoke is the result of the approaching fire.

Now we move to the second bullet point above.

2. End of a neutral internet

This is a subject which has been in and out of the news cycle for quite a bit over the last seven years. Under current FCC rules, all internet traffic is treated exactly the same. Internet carriers such as Comcast, AT&T, Charter, and Verizon are required to remain neutral where content and access to customers is concerned.

Rather than sit here and type out the things you need to understand about Net Neutrality, I’ve elected to rebroadcast three, 3-minute YouTube videos developed by Hank Green, executive producer of several educational and commentary productions on YouTube.

2010 – Net Neutrality Explanation by Hank Green
2014 – Hank vs. Hank: The Net Neutrality Debate in 3 Minutes
2015 – FCC, under the Obama administration, Net Neutrality wins

As you can see from the series of videos above, in 2015, under the Obama administration, Net Neutrality won the day. The FCC voted to classify the internet as a public utility. Internet content was safe again.

For the time being.

Enter the Trump Administration.

President Donald Trump picked Ajit Pai, a fierce critic of the Obama-era “net neutrality” rules, to be chief regulator of the FCC. It should be noted that Chairman Pai is formerly the CEO of Verizon, one of the most vocal opponents of net neutrality.

The week of Thanksgiving 2017, Chairman Pai unveiled a plan to gut Obama-era net neutrality rules, which were meant to keep broadband providers from playing favorites with websites and apps. Tech companies, including Airbnb, Etsy and Twitter, sent him a letter in support of the current rules. Chairman Pai has been right out ugly in his dismissal of people calling for the current rules to be left in place, calling critics of his plan “absurd” on more than one occasion.

Thanks in large part to there now being a Republican majority on the Board of the FCC, it appears that the fate of the open internet is all but sealed. The FCC will undo the Obama-era protections of an open and free-flowing internet. This will result in internet service providers (ISPs) such as Verizon, Comcast\Xfinity, Charter, AT&T and the like, segmenting bandwidth and charging different prices for different types of content.

We know that this segmentation will happen because it’s already happened before.

COMCAST vs FCC – 2007

In 2007, Comcast was caught interfering with peer-to-peer traffic. Specifically, it falsified packets of data that fooled users and their peer-to-peer programs into thinking they were transferring files. Comcast initially denied that it interfered with its subscribers’ uploads, but later admitted it. The FCC held a hearing and concluded that Comcast violated the principles of the Internet Policy Statement because Comcast’s “discriminatory and arbitrary practice unduly squelched the dynamic benefits of an open and accessible Internet and did not constitute reasonable network management.” The FCC also provided clear guidelines to any ISP wishing to engage in reasonable network management. The FCC suggested ways that Comcast could have achieved its goal of stopping network congestion, including capping the average user’s capacity and charging the most aggressive users overage (going over a maximum) fees, throttling back the connections of all high capacity users, or negotiating directly with the application providers and developing new technologies.

VERIZON THROTTLES THRID PARTY VIDEO – July 2017

In July of 2017, Verizon Wireless customers started to notice something suspicious: Videos from Netflix and YouTube were slow. Verizon Wireless couldn’t explain why. When reporters asked the wireless giant to comment, the company first said it was just a temporary network test with no impact on user experience. But Verizon later admitted that, temporary test or not, it was indeed ‘optimizing’ video streams. The FCC’s Net Neutrality rules clearly state that broadband providers cannot “impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of Internet content, application, or service” unless it’s what the agency calls “reasonable network management” for a legitimate technical purpose. Slowing down an entire class of applications, such as all video, would violate this no-throttling rule.  Slowing down video, and only video, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If Verizon’s network can handle traffic, it can handle traffic—whether it’s video or not. That’s why the Net Neutrality rules allow for network management—but prohibit companies from cherry-picking which apps work and which ones don’t.

So, in short, THIS IS REAL. It’s a real thing people. And you’re not going to realize it until it’s too late.

SO – You may be asking what to do in order to affect the debate. As I am writing this, there are literally 6 business days left until the vote, so you have to hurry.

Comment on the official FCC Filing for this action using my step-by-step instructions below:

  1. Browse to www.gofccyourself.com which will take you directly to the FCC filing where you can comment.
  2. Click “+ Express”
  3. Fill out the form – The “proceeding number” will auto populate. For “Name of Filer,” type your name exactly as it would show on your income tax return. For the section called “Brief Comment,” paste the following text into the box.
I don't want ISPs to have the power to block websites, slow them down, give some sites an advantage over others, split the Internet into "fast lanes" for companies that pay and "slow lanes" for the rest, or force me to buy special "tiers" to access the sites and services I choose. That's exactly what the FCC plan would do. Blocking & throttling by ISPs is a serious problem. Comcast has throttled Netflix, AT&T blocked FaceTime, Time Warner Cable throttled the popular game League of Legends, and Verizon admitted it will introduce fast lanes for sites that pay-and slow lanes for everyone else-if the FCC lifts the rules. This hurts consumers and businesses large and small. If some companies can pay ISPs to have their content load faster, startups and small businesses that can't pay those fees won't be able to compete. This will kill the open marketplace that has enabled millions of small businesses and created America’s 5 most valuable companies. Without strong net neutrality protections, Internet providers will effectively be able to impose a tax on every sector of the American economy. Moreover, under Chairman Pai's plan, ISPs will be able to make it more difficult to access political speech that they don't like. They'll be able to charge fees for website delivery that would make it harder for blogs, nonprofits, artists, and others who can't pay up to have their voices heard. If the FCC passes their current order, every Internet user and business in this country will be unprotected from abuse by Internet providers, and the consequences will be dire.

Net Neutrality is essential to equal education, equal economic opportunity, social movements and lawful dissent. These are things that Republicans and corporate America are against. Without net neutrality, you will never see these opportunities on the Internet in the United States again.

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