FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is driving forward a vote to kill net neutrality, scheduled to happen next week on December 14th. We’re adding our voice in opposition to this potentially devastating decision. Maintaining net neutrality is vital to emerging tech companies like PhotoShelter, and it’s also vital to independent creative businesses like the pro photographers we serve.
Net neutrality isn’t an esoteric concept. Rather, it’s a fundamental protection that exists to foster the fair evolution of the internet that we enjoy today. Net neutrality is the principle that individuals should be free to access all content and applications equally, regardless of the source, without Internet Service Providers discriminating against specific online services or websites. In other words, it is the principle that the company that connects you to the internet does not get to control what you do on the internet. (Thanks to Public Knowledge for that very clear description.)
Net neutrality rules require ISPs to connect users to all lawful content on the internet equally, without giving preferential treatment to certain sites or services. Without net neutrality rules in place, large ISPs like Verizon and Comcast will gain an imbalance of power. They can assert control over how you enjoy Internet service as a consumer, and they can control the speed and performance of the delivery of that content. Hence, ISPs will have the power to prevent users from visiting some websites, can provide faster speeds for preferred content services (e.g. large paying partners). Hence, services unwilling to pay for faster routes may be relegated to slower delivery speeds. There is fear that ISPs could even redirect users from one website to a competing partner website.
In the deregulated environment that could emerge, smaller players will lose. This creates a near stifling bar for emerging technology companies and content providers to overcome. In our world, we work with professionals who excel at visual storytelling. My major concern is that these small businesses can be easily squeezed out. Today, creative professionals have a more even playing field upon which they can attract traffic and share their content online. Without net neutrality, imagine searching for your favorite creators’ photos and videos, only to be redirected to a behemoth agency who can afford special rates with their ISP. Beyond this, killing net neutrality will constrain the future creation of innovative new platforms and vehicles for visual stories to be told.
The average consumer certainly loses as well – less content diversity, less choice in service providers, and of course, potentially higher fees as the cost for faster bandwidth is passed on.
The safeguards of net neutrality must be preserved.
What you can do:
Learn more and form your own opinion.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation https://www.eff.org/issues/net-neutrality
Public Knowledge https://www.publicknowledge.org/
Battle for the Net https://www.battleforthenet.com/
Tell your elected officials that killing net neutrality is unacceptable.
EFF Contact Form https://act.eff.org/action/protect-the-open-internet-order
Battle for the Net Events https://events.battleforthenet.com/