In January of this year, the FCC openly asked for public comment about plans to “fix” the Internet and over 4 million public comments have been submitted since then. The response reinforced the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision to strike down the FCC’s proposed internet rules, commonly known as Net Neutrality.
The FCC planned to create a new two-tier model for Internet: A slower inexpensive version and another faster, significantly higher cost version. ‘Net neutrality’ supporters believe this would ruin the web, since all data should be treated equally.
In June John Oliver of HBO’s Last Week Tonight delivered a humorous-yet-accurate YouTube video using his trademark turns of phrase and provided an explanation of Net neutrality. (It’s a quick way to understand the debate basics.)
TIME Magazine reported his rant crashed FCC servers hours after Oliver appealed to the “web comment monsters”… those who usually comment on drivel. He contended the debate is designed to be boring and obscure any impact on the web. He encouraged funneling their negative and hate-filled efforts towards the FCC comment page and they did.
Net Neutrality defenders declare changes would be devastating and say the public can affect the FCCs proposal (as it did during the Stop Online Piracy Act debate). Regulators were planning to clamp down on copyright infringement and the outcry deterred the FCCs altogether. That’s why defenders say this current battle deserves the same serious action… “if you like the Internet as it is now, because it will change if nothing is done to stop the FCC.”
Many question regulators motivations to alter the Internet. What’s clear is President Obama’s focus on a free and open Internet. He announced a plan back in November centered on no blocking user access, no throttling, increased transparency and no paid prioritization of web content, which are all a part of protecting web users ability to access information about almost anything, anytime, anywhere.
Ultimately, the FCC will settle the debate independently. Currently, Obama believes his plan is best to safeguard the Internet as an incredible resource, because much has changed for the better since the Internet came along. “Its’ influence and impact is undeniable.” And we’re not just talking about catching cat videos, but rather how major web content providers like Netflix transform how media is consumed or fledgling companies have the same chance to succeed as established corporations.