We’re down to the wire now. The repeal of “net neutrality” is imminent, which the FCC will vote on this Thursday (December 14) and is expected to pass. That being said, there’s been a tremendous outcry of those who want to keep net neutrality rules in place, with some of the most significant voices coming from those in the tech industry. The Pioneers of the Internet- a conglomerate of tech business executives that include Mitchell Baker (Mozilla), John Borthwick (Betaworks), Dewayne Hendricks (Tetherless Access) and a number of Senators and academic professors released a recent letter to the FCC stating they don’t know how the internet works.
The letter calls on the FCC to cancel their upcoming vote and leave the net neutrality rules in place, more specifically, they note that the proposed order for repeal is based on flawed and a factually inaccurate understanding of internet technology. They outlined these flaws in a 43-page document created by over 200 of the most prominent Internet Pioneers and engineers sent to the FCC back in July of this year. The Pioneers state that the FCC not only didn’t correct their misguidances and understandings but actually based their repeal order on the technical flaws outlined in the document.
In the recent letter, the Pioneers state, “The technically-incorrect proposed Order dismantles 15 years of targeted oversight from both Republican and Democratic FCC chairs, who understood the threats that Internet access providers could pose to open markets on the Internet.” The Pioneers weren’t the only ones ignored as the FCC has failed to listen to the public majority as well or held one open-door meeting or debate on the subject, only a mandate that states the repeal will benefit us all and help invigorate competition among ISP providers.
There have been plenty of discussions on why repealing those rules would be a disaster on many levels and what impacts would be felt across small businesses, online retailers, open-source repositories and the public at large. Everybody has their own opinions on this issue, and even though you may not agree with one another, a healthy debate can only help to spur new ideas and changes that would benefit all in one form or another. For those in favor of the repeal, there’s nothing more to do but wait for the outcome. The FCC is in your court, and the chances are good that the motion will be passed on Thursday.
For those who would like the net neutrality rules to remain in place, there’s little time left, but there are still a few things you can do. For starters, you can let your representatives know how you feel by contacting them directly either through email or phone call using your respective state directory. There are also online entities that can help automate the process for you if you would like to email or phone Congress through websites such as battleforthenet.com or savetheinternet.com.
It may feel like a futile attempt, but it couldn’t hurt to contact the FCC directly, or even you’re respective ISP- Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink or whatever service you subscribe to (too many to list). You can also join others that feel the same as you by joining local marches, demonstrations and protests or you can join the national rallies being held in Washington DC. If you participate in these events, please do it respectfully and peacefully, there’s entirely no need for violence, and it never solves anything. Most importantly, remember that even if things change and not in your favor, nothing is written in stone and most laws can be revised or eliminated outright.
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