If Ajit Pai and Donald Trump have their way, the FCC will dismantle the internet as we know it in December. They will dismantle net neutrality. Here’s what that means:
- Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be able to throttle your internet traffic. This means a company like Comcast could make Verizon’s sites slow to a crawl, so you won’t want to switch, or they could charge Netflix a fortune to have regular internet speeds, because it competes with cable TV and Comcast’s Hulu. Small companies would be unable to pay this fee and driven out of the market.
- ISPs will be able to completely block whatever they’d like
- Consumers will have no choice in ISP in most areas, they’ll be forced to deal with throttled speeds
- ISPs will be able to block websites unless consumers pay up. They could decide the internet into packages, as they have with cable and as they have in other countries. $49.99 for basic service, $9.99 to add social networks. $19.99 to add gaming. A Triple play for just $119.99/month.
- ISPs will be able to throttle out of network access
This would spell an end for a free and open internet. Going to Reddit to complain about Verizon? Good luck, the site’s been blocked. Trying to organize a protest? Blocked. Real news slowed in favor of propaganda. Small businesses unable to pay the fee for unthrottled internet are left in the slow lane, and wither and die. Startups and small businesses suffer. Consumers are trapped with an internet that looks as though it’s been censored by the government. Think about it. Verizon and others overwhelmingly support Republican candidates. They’ll be able to throttle the websites that aren’t in favor of the politicians they’ve paid off in the form of campaign contributions. This will turn the United States into a corporate controlled nation. We won’t have free speech if we don’t have a free internet.
So, here’s what you need to do:
1. Fill out the FCC’s form
The first step you should take tell the FCC yourself that you oppose the repeal of net neutrality. Here’s how to do that:
- Go to the FCC’s website (if the link doesn’t work, search for 17-108)
- Tap/click on “Express.” This allows you to post your comments directly in the form.
- Type your name in the field and hit return/enter. If you’re on mobile or using a browser that fills out forms automatically, like Safari, be sure to go back to the name field and press enter after your name.
- Fill out the rest of your information.
- In the comments field, say, in your own words, why net neutrality is important to you. Mention how it’s necessary to keep it a utility, as it’s a means of communication and free speech cannot be limited in a free country. Mention how small businesses can’t compete, how corporations that have made contributions to congress should not have the power to throttle or censor the internet. Finally, point out how this damages small businesses, how they’ll be unable to pay for “fast lanes” to compete. Remind the FCC that Comcast has already imposed fast lanes before, and that it’s done in less free nations worldwide already. You can use a form letter, but I feel like your own passion should pour out.
- Hit continue, and submit your comments. The FCC will log them.
2. Call your senators
Senators respond when their constituents complain. They might not reply to every phone call. However, if they get enough calls, they’ll do something. It’s incredibly simple. Just go to the senate’s website. Enter your state, and you’ll see your two senators. You’ll see their phone numbers and emails. Call them. Email them.
What should you tell your senators?
First and foremost, tell them to be outspoken. They cannot control the FCC vote, but if the FCC sees that a large number of senators are speaking out in favor of net neutrality, the committee will likely vote to continue protecting the internet. Secondly, tell them that if the FCC repeals internet freedom, you expect them to immediately combat the ruling. Congress can repeal the FCC’s decision. We’ll need both republican and democrats on this. Democrats have been historically in favor of net neutrality, as it represents power to individuals. Republicans, however, have sided with the large corporations. They’ll be harder to win over. But this isn’t a partisan issue, we all need the internet. If Republican constituents speak up and tell their senators they will not be reelected if they don’t protect the internet, they will take action. Congress can overturn the FCC’s decision, as well as put legislation in place to protect it. So, basically put, tell your senator to repeal any attacks against net neutrality and protect it through legislation.You can do this through a phone call (it’ll be an answering machine, most likely, so if you’re socially anxious, fret not!), and through email. Hit them often and multiple times, there’s no harm in sending them daily emails or phone calls. Don’t just do this once.
3. Fax your senators
You can also fax your senators through a wonderful Facebook/SMS bot. Resistbot will start a dialog with you, either over text message or Facebook. You give it your address, who you want to contact (house or senate, you can do both, but the senate is most important here), and then compose your message. Resistbot will attempt to send a fax until it receives confirmation that it was received, something that would be frustrating to do as a person, but a bot does it without a care! You can even save your message and have your senators receive it daily.
4. Email FCC members
Contacting your senators is great, but you can also reach out to the FCC members who will be voting directly. This might be tough, they were appointed by Trump and want to carry out his anti-consumer, pro-corporation agenda. However, they may be swayed if they realize this will hurt their party. It most certainly would do irreparable damage to the Republican Party at this point. Email the FCC members, tell them why net neutrality is vital. At least one FCC member already knows and will fight for net neutrality. Email each of these people individually, especially Ajit Pai, former Verizon employee and mastermind of the plan to dismantle internet freedom.
Those links are to the email forms on the FCC’s webpage. Your comments will go directly to those commissioners, and it’ll be through proper communication channels on a public government website. It’s their job to hear you out, and they should be happy to hear from you.
On December 14th, the FCC will vote on net neutrality, which we have now. They may vote to kill the internet as we know it, dismantling internet freedom, stifling competition and innovation, and killing the open net. You can do something, in fact, you can do a whole lot. You have so much power in this country, so make use of it. Together, we can save the internet, but we have to work together. That’s why I’m asking every single one of you to go out and do at least two of the above. Do all of them, if you want. Do them multiple times a day. Speak up, be heard.