This particular post isn’t so much about the mobile gadgets we all love. It’s about something more. The very thing that we carry those little technological wonders around to access freely and easily.
After a long fight, it seems that the American Federal Communications Commission has finally recognized that this little thing we call the Internet is actually more than just Amazon and eBay.
Today the FCC actually approved Net Neutrality by a 3-2 vote. Called the Open Internet Order, this vote pretty much ensures that internet service providers give everyone a completely neutral path to the internet itself instead of limiting access type based on cost or usage. And in addition to that, this will reclassify all internet service providers, or ISPs for those of you who have always wondered what that meant, and make them fall under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. This means that internet will be regulated as public utility.
Net Neutrality is no secret. In recent years, you could not throw a proverbial rock without hitting someone yelling about it in one manner or another. And while the concepts of capitalism and a free market are things that the American economy, and much of the economy of the rest of the world, are built on, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for what Net Neutrality stands for.
Because, in the end, it stands for the freedom of information. It stands for the inability of big companies to regulate how you get your information and what information you get. When a company can choose to throttle back your consumption of a specific website, service, or anything in-between, then we run into the moral degradation of what the internet honestly is to everyone. It’s more than just your ability to check Facebook or your email. It’s more than just Netflix and World of Warcraft. It’s more than all of those things and it is only those things at the same time. In short, it’s what we want it to be and, more importantly, what we need it to be.
Big ISP, and yes like the oil companies and railroad companies before them those things do exist, wanted to sell access to the highest bidder. They wanted to tell the services we require that in order for us, their consumers and markets, to access them they must pay more and more exorbitant fees. And in this writer’s opinion, that’s tantamount to extortion. The internet has grown into a necessity for daily life. Few things can be accomplished anymore without the need of the free-exchange of information that the internet provides. Daily life as we know it would grind to a halt if the unregulated restriction that these ISPs have openly and quietly enacted continued. We wouldn’t lose the internet. No, we would simply be offered truncated versions that fit the model that companies like Verizon and Comcast require to continue to rake in the unbelievable amounts of money they do on a daily basis.
The FCC has finally recognized that like electricity before it, the world runs on what we all take for granted. And in declaring it a utility, at least in the U.S., we’ve made a step in the right direction for maintaining a level of necessity that this country claims to have. I’m happy to be an American, but it’s no secret we lag behind often where it counts. And this is a small step, but even small steps mean great distances when added together.