Why Net Neutrality Matters to Your Agency
Today, when you pay your ISP for access to the Internet, you have unfettered access to any site on the web. Your ISP may charge you a slight premium for speed of access, but the internet is an open highway.
What if your ISP acted more like a television cable company that packaged bundles of content and charged more for some content? Or gave preference to partners of their choosing? Charged you a premium to access some content? Blocked some content entirely? What if your agency had to pay money not just to have access to the Internet, but to ensure that your site was included in bundles of content available to consumers? Could this happen?
Under Net Neutrality or "Network Neutrality," no. That's the system we've been operating under. But without Net Neutrality, large service providers get to write the rules and implement a "pay to play" future.
Last week, a court ruling ended Net Neutrality as we know it:
"A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down an Federal Communications Commission order that required Internet service providers to abide by the rules of "net neutrality." ISPs had previously been forced to treat all types of web traffic equally -- meaning providers couldn't block some sites or speed up loading times for others. Tuesday's decision means corporations can now block or slow down loading times for pages they don't like, or could charge businesses a fee to have their pages load more quickly -- or at all."
This could have an effect on consumers and businesses alike. Many are concerned that small businesses, start-ups and web-based services that many of us use will be affected the most. What about your agency? Will you have to pay more to have access to potential customers? Will you have to pay more to access certain web services? Will large direct access insurers be able to cut better deals with service providers than local agencies and have better market access?
Proponents of Net Neutrality think that it is a conflict of interest for the pipes that carry our content to also have a financial stake in and authority over what content is delivered
"Consumer advocates hope the FCC also will reconsider reclassifying Internet service providers as Title II common-carrier services, like telephone companies, rather than keep them classified as information services. In its ruling, the court said the FCC exceeded its authority because of the way these companies were classified."
Whatever your stance, it's important to be knowledgeable about this issue and to make your opinion known.
Net Neutrality 101
'Pay to play' on the Web?: Net neutrality explained
Wikipedia: Net Neutrality
Internet Freedom Day: This Year We Go to War for Net Neutrality
What You Can Do
Don't let this just happen without having a voice. Make your opinion known.
Contact the FCC
Contact your elected officials