On February 26, 2015, just eight days away, the Internet in the United States could change forever. There's currently a Battle for the Net going on between "Team Cable" and "Team Internet."
If you haven't heard of Net Neutrality, now is definitely the time to get up to speed and let the FCC know how you feel about it.
The main issue is that "Team Cable", or the cable companies, want to make it possible to charge companies to get their content out to their customers in a new "fast lane." The "fast lane" would be a way for content to stream or get to the consumer, or you, much more quickly. What that means is that companies like Netflix, or "Team Internet", might have to pay more money to get their content available in the "fast lane" so their customers don't have to see the dreaded words - buffering or loading.
The issue with this is that big companies could afford to buy their way into the "fast lane", and everyone else will be in the "slow lane".
"Team Cable" says they won't slow down anyone's Internet, but is it really believable? Shouldn't the consumer be allowed to decide how fast they'd like their Internet to be?
Big companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix are all supporting Net Neutrality. Activists and corporations are on the same side to make sure that "fast" and "slow" lanes aren't created. Imagine how it would completely stifle any competition for start-ups that can't afford to pay to be in the "fast lanes". If you're accustomed to fast Internet on your favorite sites, how much patience would you have for a new streaming site that's twice as slow? Probably not very much.
How could this possibly happen if everyone seems they're against it? Ninety-six percent of the US population has access to two or fewer options in their cable or Internet Service Providers. The cable companies are pretty close to being monopolies and they are big lobbyists in DC.
On September 10, 2014, the Internet Slowdown was launched. Now we know that was quite a while ago, but you might have noticed sites like Pluralsight, Netflix, Vimeo, and Reddit with fake loading icons on their pages to show you what could happen if Net Neutrality doesn't happen. If "Team Internet" doesn't pay "Team Cable" those loading signs could show up regularly.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has announced a plan that will put Internet in the same group as the telephone, using Title II of the 1934 Communications Act. The FCC would be given authority to ban ISPs from changing or manipulating online content. Learn more about that announcement on the Pluralsight blog.
Make sure you let the FCC and your local politicians know that you think Net Neutrality is important by visiting BattlefortheNet.com where you can find out what your politicians support and send them letters.