The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

At this rate, it won’t be streamed, either

It was a sad day last Tuesday for freedom of choice when the FCC unwound the net neutrality rules established by the previous administration. Basically, by removing all regulation, it leaves providers of Internet services free to create whatever pricing structure it wants and apply it to anyone it wants. In other words, if carrier A has a good relationship with customer B—let’s say, Comcast and Netflix—there is nothing to stop Comcast from giving Netflix a sweetheart deal, and a Netflix competitor prohibitively high pricing to keep them out of the marketplace.

Sounds unlikely? Before the establishment of net neutrality, it happened all the time. Comcast was fined for the practice while the net neutrality rules were in place, and Verizon has gone on record as saying that it is going to take full advantage of the lack of regulation in its pricing policies. Now, I’ll grant you, they didn’t exactly say where going to make sweetheart deals with their friends and screw their enemies, but that’s what it amounts to.

It should be noted that the FCC took this action in the face of polling that showed that between 80 and 90% of the American public opposed the repeal of net neutrality—and with good reason. They immediately recognized something that the FCC and the administration has tried to whitewash with inaccurate statements like, “Before net neutrality, the internet flourished.” The record actually shows that the formation of the five most successful Internet-based companies took place after net neutrality became the law.

While last Tuesday was indeed a dark day for consumers and small businesses, the fight continues. The first step is to persuade Congress to reverse the FCC, which is not as impossible as it seems. Demand Progress has assembled a toolkit to make it easy for you to contact your elected representatives and to see who’s on “Team Cable, “Team Internet,” and “Unknown.” Go HERE.

Our next resort is the courts. One lawsuit has already been filed, with more on the way.

This is important. Read up on the issue. Personally contact your friends in congress to let them know how important net neutrality is to the success of small business and the benefit of consumers everywhere.