Why Net Neutrality matters to you

By MARIE TOMLINSON

Do you like to surf the Internet? Do you like to watch videos of people cooking? Or rock hunting? Or tinkering? Be glad for Net Neutrality. The “Open Internet” is the greatest tool for innovations and communications in the history of man kind.

Net Neutrality is what we have right now, and it is in danger. The FCC wants new rules. They want to make fast lanes and slow lanes. Right now all content on the Internet is available at the same speed at the same time. Whether you are Netflix, Facebook, Google, or the person experimenting on making a solar powered picnic cooler. It all shows up in a search and it all loads at the same speed.

Right now the Internet is regulated like a utility. In plumbing terms it is a dumb pipe. That means I get the same water at the same pressure as the factory down the street or the spa next door. In electrical terms everybody gets the same electricity. The new FCC rules would allow a company to differentiate between customers. The factory is a big customer with a lot of money. They could pay the electric company more than the average person, so the factory gets all the electricity they want and the little guy gets what’s left over, if there is anything.

When it comes to the internet it is possible for a provider to have one speed for a big customer and a slower speed for a small one. The chain grocery store loads fastest. Joe’s Grocery and Deli loads slower. It can go slow enough to effectively block the website. Chain store is a five-second download. Joe’s grocery is a five-hour download if it appears in the search at all.

Our economic well being, depends on the free flow of information. Factories with jobs will come with tinkering. New industries are going to come from someone taking off the shelf components and developing something entirely new. We can never go back to a time when we made parts for things. China makes everything far more cheaply than we can. We must move forward. We must take “off the shelf” components and put them together in new ways. The solar-powered picnic cooler is a perfect example. You can buy a solar panel at Harbor Freight. You can buy a cooler at Tops. The rest of it needs to be developed. The point is the Ice Lobby doesn’t want that product to exist. With the new rules they can strangle innovation in the cradle.

The FCC will vote on new rules in early December. It has closed the comment period but Jessica Rosenworcel, a commissioner at the FCC, wants more hearings before the vote. Tom Reed has come out in support of the FCC’s new rules, ending net neutrality. The number for his Jamestown office is 708-6369. Call him. Tell him to do his job. He is elected to represent us. We want a free and open internet. Keep Net Neutrality.

Marie Tomlinson is a Fredonia resident.

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