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It's critical that nonprofits make their voices heard in favor of Net Neutrality. Read on, or take immediate action.
Traditionally, nonprofits familiar with Net Neutrality have tended to regard it as a "techie" issue that is beyond what any individual nonprofit can meaningfully influence.
It's time to reset our thinking as a community. If we think of the Internet as the air nonprofits must breathe in order to function effectively, then our collective air supply is about to be sharply rationed. "Letting the techies deal with it" is no longer an option.
In April 2017, the U.S. Federal Communication Commission (FCC), under new Trump-appointed Chairman Ajit Pai, drafted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. If this proposal goes forward, it will end the existing regulatory approach popularly known as Net Neutrality.
Net Neutrality requires Internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally. Put simply, you aren't allowed to pay less if you are a "wholesale" user, and you can't be forced to pay more if you are a "retail" user. The 2015 rules the FCC proposes to overturn require Internet providers to be fair to all customers. Internet providers must also abide by transparency rules to make public disclosures about hidden fees and data caps.
The new rules will allow blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization by Internet providers. Providers will be able to give preference to some customers, and slow down or choke off others. In much of the country, Internet providers hold a virtual monopoly on broadband services, and under the new rules, they would be permitted to raise rates dramatically.
To put it very plainly, nonprofits could be forced to pay more to avoid being stuck in the "slow lane" of the Internet.
This is not in the intended spirit of the Internet. It is not in the interests of nonprofits. It is not in the interests of the communities we serve.
It is vitally important the FCC hear from as many nonprofits as possible. Techsoup has submitted a comment that you can read here. Instructions for how to make your voice heard are at the bottom of this blog post. It is critical that the volume (and content) of the comments submitted be sufficient to let the FCC know how many people care about what it is doing and are watching carefully.
Comments from nonprofits can simply focus on how you use and depend on the Internet to conduct your mission and on how slowdowns and increased rate charges would negatively impact your work.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation and a broad coalition have designated July 12 as a Day of Action. TechSoup will be there and we urge you to participate, too. Together, we still have a chance of changing some FCC minds.
We believe it really is time to care about Net Neutrality. Together, let's make our voices heard!
TechSoup Vice President of Strategic Alliances and General Counsel Sheila Warren leads TechSoup's legal, eligibility, development, and alliances teams. Sheila is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.
Image 1: TechSoup
Image 2: Sheila Warren
I am amazed that anyone would want political control of "the internet". "Net Neutrality" is a vague rule that potentially has the FCC dictating how routers work, and whether telecoms and ISPs can offer things like Skype and tele-medicine. The technology requires innovation, and political control - "Net Neutrality" guarantees obstacles to that innovation. It means income for lawyers who can cozy up to the FCC and coax the bureaucrats to allow telecoms to operate. "Net Neutrality" means products like firewalls are subject to FCC control.
Those who do not undertand the technology and the fundamentals of networking can be forgiven if they accept the idea that political regulation will somehow make things "equal". Those who DO understand the technology should understand how ludicrous the entire idea is.
"Net Neutrality" was enacted - for the first time - in 2015. It is obvious that the net was born and grew into an enormously useful tool before 2015. Putting the FCC in the drivers seat is a phenomenally stupid thing to do.
Tech Soup should not be pushing this atrocious policy. Ajit Pai is doing the right thing. I fully support what he is doing.
We are glad to see that this post has sparked conversation and the sharing of opinions. Increased awareness of these issues and of their importance to the nonprofit community is precisely what we had hoped to effect.
We at TechSoup are acutely aware of the importance of democratic access to the entire Internet ecosystem for the nonprofit community. Digital communications, social media, and Internet apps and services have transformed the ability of nonprofit organizations to quickly, efficiently, and in many cases, much more cost-effectively, engage with the communities they serve. This transformation is rooted in a free and open Internet.
Many of our positions on Net Neutrality are further developed in the Internet Association’s report, "Principles to Preserve and Protect an Open Internet," available at internetassociation.org/.../principles-to-preserve-protect-an-open-internet. We invite you to peruse it for a detailed analysis of the effects of the FCC’s 2015 Order.
Some project in new tech will give an anvers to this.
For example new Tech project Shift, using blockchain technologie.
The internet is getting privatized at an alarming rate
From ICANN to hosting providers, from advertisers to social media, the Internet is getting privatized and centralized more and more. On the new web there is no censorship or discrimination due to its decentralized nature.
Its against the basic rights where the difference between the poor and rich will only increase further. It was amazing to see the Chairman of FCC mocking the net neutrality in his video since it was very demeaning for internet users. Hope some sense prevails in the minds of those who can take action against these people. The guide on net neutrality http://bit.ly/SaveNetNeutality is a must read for everyone in order to understand what its all about
The FCC just voted to gut net neutrality rules, letting the big Internet providers control what we can see and do online with new fees, throttling, and censorship. But there’s hope, we still can get rid of this problem with the new blockchain technology.
I wan’t to introduce you all to a project called SHIFT. It’s the first decentralized application platform to develop an actual, working prototype for more affordable and uncensorable web hosting and storage.
The internet is getting privatized at an alarming rate. From ICANN to hosting providers, from advertisers to social media, the Internet is getting privatized and centralized more and more. On the new web there is no censorship or discrimination due to its decentralized nature.
Interested in the new web? Here are some links to learn more about the SHIFT project;
I completly agree with you clayvligon,
Net Neutrality Taking Its Last Breaths! We Can Save It: http://bit.ly/2Cv86rR
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