Have you been tuning out the news lately like we have? But what are we missing that’s really important?
Today, we fill you in on a news item that none of us should be in the dark about: Net Neutrality. It will affect every one of us if it goes away!
Most of us are completely unaware that the ground below our feet is about to change radically when it comes to how we access and pay for the internet. The FCC (U.S. Federal Communications Commission) voted to repeal Net Neutrality on December 12, 2017, but unfortunately, many of us have no idea what that means.
Today, EWC is going to change all that. We’ve combed the web for some trustworthy sources to understand this ourselves. And we wanted it straight: with no complex technical details and no yammering on about politics.
So here you go! The bottom line explanation of Net Neutrality from one of our favorite places for reliable basic, explanations, CGP Grey, a YouTube channel. It’s so refreshing to get a solid breakdown of this without all the shouting! Take a look:
Really, I had no idea this is how it all works! The internet is simply like any other utility, like the electric company. And if net neutrality goes away, companies will have free rein to dim our lights (slow our speed) or cut off some lights altogether, unless we are able to pay more. They’ll also have free rein to decide what we get to see.
Now imagine what this means to your daily use: downloads, Netflix, and even access to information you need quickly at work or to understand a health or safety problem. Imagine how this new system could hold up GPS tracking and hold us all for ransom.
Okay, before we get wound up, let’s look at this from a completely different, yet still no-politics angle. Just to make sure we have this straight:
Yep, this could get ugly and expensive.
What about science and the time-dependent technology like space exploration with satellites and telescopes, and weather forecasting, aviation tracking, public safety and first responders? All that relies on speedy, low-cost data transmission!
Here’s another wise source for opinions on this topic? The MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Technology Review website puts things as plainly as brilliant innovators could:
Entrepreneurs are rightly concerned that large companies will spend heavily to dominate fast-lane access, making it harder for some startups, such as bandwidth-hungry mobile video companies, to challenge them…And few innovators will have the time or the money to launch legal battles. – MIT’s Martin Giles 3
What does that mean for the next Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb, Wikipedia or our own humble Ever Widening Circles? It means there will be no way for the next little guy with a brilliant idea to ever start their journey. We will have a lot fewer start-ups. The “big boys” will control the pipeline.
So what do we do about this!
How does this prove it’s still an amazing world?
I suspect that as people learn more about this, our systems for oversight can kick in. But we all need to take a few minutes to let our voice be heard. Here’s a terrific bit of direction from the long-trusted Popular Science magazine:
Just because the FCC voted to repeal the net neutrality protections doesn’t mean we’re suddenly living in some tiered internet service hellscape. Congress still has 60 days to review and repeal the decision. That requires a Resolution of Disapproval, and you can use this form to show your support to Congress. If you want a more thorough explanation, you can check out our longer story on net neutrality and its importance. 4
If you live in the US, make sure you take a second to fill out a quick form to show your support for net neutrality!
I pressed that button, added my name to the letter, and then even followed the simple directions to call my congressman. It was amazingly empowering and that website we are referring you to makes it a snap!
(I’m standing to strike the “Superman Power Pose” for a minute now.) Go for it yourself!
Here’s a great rational: We write a lot about the things that already prove it’s still an amazing world here on Ever Widening Circles, but we think that sometimes it’s important to be the ones that make it an amazing world and take our readers with us.
Let’s prove this is still an amazing world by taking a stand. It only takes a minute or two, and you know how powerful people can be in a “swarm”!
Oh, before we close, this all reminds me of the last time Ever Widening Circles got behind a movement and things turned out great! Remember the big hubbub in the news, about two years ago, about the mistreatment of killer whales at SeaWorld? Well, we wrote an article about that, gave people contact information to voice their opinions with SeaWorld, and for a while, our article was being viewed and shared by thousands all over the world.
Our article added weight to a groundswell of public opinion, at just the right moment.
Eventually, as you may know, SeaWorld relented and changed their policies entirely. Wild capturing and breeding killer whales is over. Eventually, there will be no more killer whales in captivity! Here’s our article about how that all played out:
Let’s see if we can circulate this article around the world and get a movement going to save Net Neutrality! We don’t usually use a “call to action”, but this article would be great to share all over social media.
Stay open, curious, and hopeful!
~ Dr. Lynda
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- “Internet Citizens: Defend Net Neutrality.” YouTube. CGP Grey, 05 May 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtt2aSV8wdw>. ↩
- “Net Neutrality Explained. Will Ending It Free the Internet?” YouTube. Science Studio, 23 Nov. 2017. Web. 18 Dec. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKCzAGBfKLU>. ↩
- Condliffe, Jamie. “The FCC Has Now Done Its Part to Kill Net Neutrality.” MIT Technology Review. MIT Technology Review, 14 Dec. 2017. Web. 18 Dec. 2017. <https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/609784/the-fcc-has-now-done-its-part-to-kill-net-neutrality/>. ↩
- Horaczek, Stan. “Net Neutrality: Where Do We Go from Here?” Popular Science. N.p., 14 Dec. 2017. Web. 18 Dec. 2017. <https://www.popsci.com/net-neutrality-dead-what-happens-now>. ↩