Update: Due to overwhelming demand on the FCC's website, causing intermittent outages, they have extended the deadline for comments through midnight on Friday, July 18, so there is still time to put your opinion in. If you experience problems with the website's submission form, you can also send a message to email@example.com (or do both!)
The FCC updated that as of late Tuesday, they had already received more than 780,000 comments, including an open letter from Internet giants Google, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, and others. Keep them coming!
Tomorrow Friday is the last day to submit your feedback to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) during their public comment period on Net Neutrality, so there is time to have your voice heard to help reverse the dismantling of the open Internet.
To back up for those who haven't been following this issue, the FCC has been receiving public comment on their ruling from earlier this year that would allow Internet Service Providers to create a "fast-lane" for Internet access and speed for those who wish to pay more (which invariably means that those who can't pay a premium will be in the slow lane).
Read what TechSoup Global staff think of their ruling, how the gutting of Net Neutrality hurts nonprofits, and why libraries need to be especially vocal.
If you're still not sure what all this means, John Oliver has an excellent and easy-to-understand explanation in the video below (it's not only fun to watch, but it's also laced with a smidge of profanity, so viewer be warned). You can also check out the guide at Consumerist for more information on Net Neutrality.
For the nonprofit, library, and social sectors, the broad term "Net Neutrality" covers a lot of different policy decisions that ultimately decides how open, accessible, and free the Internet will be for us and the communities we serve.
If you work to get the word out about your cause online and don't have the big bucks to pay for premium services, then your message may never reach your intended audience. If you work with patrons, parishioners, low-income community members, elderly or disabled persons, or anyone currently limited by the digital divide - the proposed ruling from the FCC will only further expand that digital divide.
Make your voice heard TODAY by either commenting with the form on the FCC website then select the top "Proceeding #: 14-28 Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet" listed on that page to be taken to the form where you submit your name, address, and written comments.
You can also send an e-mail to the FCC's dedicated inbox, firstname.lastname@example.org, with comments on how allowing companies like Comcast or Verizon to dole out Internet access to the highest bidders may impact your work, community, and our democracy.
Nearly 650,000 people have submitted their comments already, but let's make it a million or more, to ensure that our organizations - and more importantly, the communities we serve - will continue to have fair and open access to the Internet.
Becky Wiegand is the Webinar Program Manager at TechSoup.org @bajeckabean on Twitter
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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