It’s a victory for free speech. Internet users, whether they’re on laptops, tablets, or phones are the winners.
The Federal Communications Commission voted to approve the strongest ever regulations of net neutrality.
This has been up for debate for some time now, with supporters explaining that net neutrality really comes down to freedom of speech, allowing internet users to access all sites at equal speeds, no matter the content or the internet provider’s affiliation with the sites visited.
In short, internet users are allowed the freedom to decide what they want to see, when they want to see it, and companies can’t pay internet providers to get their content there faster (or slow down the speed of their competitors’ sites).
As FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler explained, “The internet is simply too important to allow broadband providers to be the ones making the rules.”
The ACLU of Illinois agrees.
There’s no place for discrimination or bias in this country, whether in person or online. Without net neutrality rules in place, there is potential for internet providers to have control over what you’re allowed to read or visit online, blocking what they choose and directing you where they want. It wouldn’t be good for businesses and it wouldn’t be good for consumers. This groundbreaking and consequential decision by the FCC prevents that from happening.
Opponents say a decision like this creates too much government regulation on the internet. Verizon, which is part of the lawsuit that started this investigation and ultimately this decision, says net neutrality would create unnecessary challenges to high speed internet.
That is not going to happen. Net neutrality is already in place, so technology will be unchanged by this decision. The people who use the internet still need it, they will just be able to decide what they want to do and view, as they are entitled to do.
While the FCC and President Obama have declared their support for net neutrality, the fight isn’t over yet. Congress still needs to sign off on this. Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota, who is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, is leading the fight against net neutrality, with a hearing set for March 18.
You can make a difference. Reach out. Tell your representatives that net neutrality is vital and that our freedom of speech and freedom for economic growth could be at risk.