With net neutrality being voted on yet again next week it's important to understand what this means for the United States but also for companies that operate primarily online such as CGCookie. Net Neutrality is a hot topic and for good reason as it can greatly impact how information is made available to millions of people online. This could also have an impact around the world. This article will help shed light on the subject and what you can do to help.
What is Net Neutrality?
To quote Wikipedia on the subject:
Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.
Here is another great video based look at how net neutrality works and potential downsides of this being repealed:
With a repeal of net neutrality we could start to see a fundamental change in access to various sites, which could also greatly affect the type of information available. This can also greatly affect companies like CGCookie. Since we primarily operate online through video streaming and online education, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) could charge more for sites that offer video streaming. This also includes bigger sites like Youtube, Netflix and similar video sites. So you'd be paying more just to access the same sites as before.
This also doesn't take into account unfair competition that this could bring to the surface. A competing company can pay an ISP more money to ensure that people can easily find their site online while simultaneously making it harder to find other sites. They can also outright block specific sites from being viewed under certain internet packages. All these ideas are speculative, but would be made possible if net neutrality is repealed.
What Can I Do To Help?
While this issue could have a world wide impact, the vote on this mostly applies to those within the United States and is being voted on December 14th 2017 as of the writing of this article. You may have seen a massive out pouring of support for net neutrality online through various sites like Reddit and even posted individually on sites with banners.
So what can we do within the US? There are a number of organizations that are leading the charge in helping to keep the net free, some notable ones include Battle For Net Neutrality here: https://www.battleforthenet.com/ and there's also the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) organization here: https://www.eff.org/ of which I have personally donated money to.
If you're in the US you can contact your representatives either by phone or email. Not sure what to say? Use a premade form like this one from the EFF website. You'll find links to find who to contact at the bottom of the battle for the net website as well if you'd like to call them directly. Note that this vote will be made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). If you'd like to contact the FCC directly you can use this site: https://5calls.org/issue/defend-fcc-net-neutrality
Net neutrality is a battle that has been won before and with enough support we may win yet again. If you enjoy websites like CGCookie and any site you frequent, then this is a major issue that is worthy of investing time and effort to help. You can read more about the current situation with Net Neutrality here:
CGCookie supports the free internet, help keep the internet a great place to share ideas, information and creative endeavors. Make your voice heard!