Net neutrality is one of the biggest issues facing America today — the loss of net neutrality could lead to the widespread destruction of the Internet as we know it. But many Internet users are not going down without a fight.
Thanks to an overwhelming amount of traffic on its website, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has extended the first deadline for comments on the newly-proposed Internet traffic rules to Friday, July 18, at midnight.
The traffic in question includes almost 680,000 comments left by everyone from lawmakers to ordinary citizens, according to Yahoo News.
If the new rules go into effect, according to SaveTheInternet.com, then it would “allow service providers to charge extra fees to content companies like Google and Netflix for preferential treatment.” It goes on to say that big companies like AT&T and Verizon would be able to create a new kind of Internet which has fast lanes for those who can pay more, and slower lanes for those who can’t.
People have been taking to more than just the FCC’s website to complain as well. John Oliver, the host of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver on HBO had a whole segment on his show (hit the link to watch the video, Oliver’s segment is truly hilarious) which he concluded by telling his viewers to go onto the FCC’s website and flood it with comments which would later end up crashing the site.
13 Senators have also written an open letter pleading FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to not implement the new rules, according to UPI.com. They asked to him treat the Internet like a “public utility.”
“If the FCC allows big corporations to negotiate fast lane deals, the Internet will be sold to the highest bidder,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, D-Vt, who supports the letter that was written Monday night.
Even big Internet companies like Netflix and Google have expressed their displeasure over the proposed new rules as part of a group called the Internet Association. The group submitted their official comments on the site.
“The Internet is threatened by broadband Internet access providers who would turn the open, best-efforts Internet into a pay-for-priority platform more closely resembling cable television than today’s Internet,” the group said in a statement.
FCC spokeswoman Kim Hart cited the large amount of comments being submitted as part of the reason the deadline was being extended.
“We have seen an overwhelming surge in traffic on our website that is making it difficult for many people to file comments through our Electronic Comment Filing System,” Hart said, according to Yahoo News.
She also added that the Commission is aware of the issue, and “is committed to making sure that everyone trying to submit comments will have their views entered into the record.”
So while this issue a monumental one for all of us Internet users to overcome, it’s a battle worth fighting for. Flood those websites, write your local politicians, call their offices; let your voice be heard. If net neutrality is destroyed, get ready to pay more to those mega rich service providers for “the fast lane,” which we all know will soon evolve into the only option for decent service.
Photos via: Google — Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
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