Net neutrality, and why you should care

At Imaginuity, we believe in a free, open web. The internet as it is today has allowed for incredible technological advancements, the free flow of information, and most importantly, has served as an unrestricted pipeline for accessing global content and services. We feel passionately about making sure the Web we have known for the past 25 years stays the way it is – free. So what is the issue, and what is at risk?

On April 23rd, the FCC publicly announced their new proposed rules to allow internet service providers like Verizon or Comcast to create “fast lanes” for companies like Netflix, Facebook and Google, who are willing to pay a premium. Notice the optimistic verbiage in this announcement. The reality is this: companies will have to pay a premium if they don’t want their web traffic to be throttled, or slowed down. The real conflict of interest is many of these services are competitors of cable television. When Time Warner Cable decides their services are being outclassed by Netflix, they can simply decide they want to charge Netflix a premium to use their “fast lanes.”

The implication of this ruling by the FCC is many of these services will be passing their costs on to users, or they will be shutting down. Low barrier of entry costs are what make web based services so lucrative for entrepreneurs, and why we have such affordable, competitive options. We can also infer that users may be charged based on the content they wish to access, similar to ordering access to different television channels. It is not unlikely internet service providers could make you subscribe to social channels, search engines, video streaming, online gaming, etc.

If the above scenario seems unsettling, take a moment and email your senator about the issue. Chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, is scheduled to release the rule change proposal on May 15th. The majority of the US population will not realize the effects of this ruling until it is too late.

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