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Internet-wide Day of Action: Why Net Neutrality Matters

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Learn why we support net neutrality and why the topic is important to all internet users.

Article Update, July 14, 2017 | 11 a.m. PST :

As of Thursday, the results of this week's Internet-wide Day of Action are as follows:

  • 125,000 participating companies, users, organizations
  • More than 2 million comments sent to the FCC
  • Over 5 million emails to Congress
  • 124,000 phone calls to Congress

For more information on how your participation helped make a difference in the battle for net neutrality, check out the site's recap here.

On July 12, 2017, websites, internet users, and online communities will come together to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality. Experts Exchange has thrown their hat into the ring, joining companies like Netflix, Vimeo, and Amazon to protect users' rights online.

Our official statement says, "Experts Exchange believes in a user's right to net neutrality. On July 12th, an internet-wide Day of Action, we will stand alongside those who support Title II, the legal framework protecting our online freedom."

The announcement by FCC Chairman and former Verizon lawyer, Ajit Pai, comes just two years after the Title II regulation was first put in place. It was built to keep internet providers from blocking sites and apps, charging apps and sites extra fees to reach an audience, and slowing down speeds of competing providers. Internet providers were, naturally, against these regulations as it removed their ability to make their sites and products superior and preferred within their zones of service. The removal of net neutrality removes equality among ISPs. (For a great, in-depth visual explanation of how a lack of net neutrality works, check out this representation.)

Dismantling Title II goes against the FCC’s mission of the initial implementation of the initiative. Their 2015 Title II installation document, for example, states off the bat that, “The open Internet drives the American economy and serves, every day, as a critical tool for America’s citizens to conduct commerce, communicate, educate, entertain, and engage in the world around them. The benefits of an open Internet are undisputed. But it must remain open: open for commerce, innovation, and speech; open for consumers and for the innovation created by applications developers and content companies; and open for expansion and investment by America’s broadband providers. For over a decade, the Commission has been committed to protecting and promoting an open Internet.”

Revoking this regulation removes the idea and practice of an open internet. It will grant large cable companies the power to control what users see and do online. Companies such as Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Charter, etc. These companies could target streaming programs, forcing them into a slow-loading lane while companies who can afford “prioritization fees” gain greater access to users. Consumer preference will no longer play a part and the ability to pay for the right to view certain streaming sites and services will no longer be within a user’s grasp.

Without this regulation, not only will a user’s rights be revoked, but the FCC’s Title II intent of carefully tailoring rules to “protect Internet openness [to] allow investment and innovation to continue to flourish” will be shattered.

Companies like Netflix and Hulu—companies that have indisputably changed the way our society consumes content—may not have risen to the same financial success and stability if they were required to pay for viewer prioritization from the beginning. Innovation in the way content is delivered will only be attainable by those capable of paying to be innovators, possibly resulting in a slow-down of economic growth. After all, small companies and startups tend to be busy paying for product iterations and improvements and may not have the funds that will be required to compete with the large ISPs who have the funds, as 84% of all investment in U.S. internet comes from large broadband providers.

That’s why the internet-wide Day of Action was created by grassroots organizations, and has been supported by companies and individuals alike. If you join the protest on July 12th, you’ll add to the number of users and online communities standing tall against this infraction against users’ online rights.

The Battle for the Net campaign has provided tools that make it easy to take action. Learn more here.

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LVL 47

Expert Comment

Net Neutrality is a horrible thing.  We do NOT want net neutrality.  I want to be able to have proper quality of service and guaranteed sustained bandwidth for certain protocols and types of traffic like VOIP and streaming data.  

It is just stupid to advocate to prevent people who have needs for realtime sustained throughput not to be able to pay to get a guaranteed minimum bandwidth.  Net neutrality isn't about whether people are allowed to write something on the internet. It is a marketing term that one side of the argument came up with to sucker people into thinking this has something to do with freedom to post what they want and such.

Expert Comment

by:Brian Matis
@David: Huh? I already pay for a particular bandwidth tier. How I use it should be up to me, not my ISP.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

How it *should* be is that both you and your ISP have the option to make that decision in the first place.  An ISP is in business to make money, and if there is a market for a sustained throughput product,  you can bet your life they will offer it, and then customers will be free to decide if they want such a thing.  

Surely you don't have a problem allowing people to purchase internet packages of different bandwidths.   Yet you are arguing for a one-size-fits all package where you VOIP traffic or streaming video site has dropped packets and choppy sound because somebody using the same ISP is spamming mailboxes and spam traffic is treated exactly the same.

You can't have it both ways.   You can't make an argument against allowing people to buy a package from an ISP for bandwidth for one protocol without saying you're against allowing ISPs to offer more than one speed for all protocols.   It is hypocritical to say people shouldn't be allowed to buy faster internet speeds for a specific protocol ... unless you also say that providers should only offer one speed for everything, regardless of what their needs are.

Expert Comment

by:Brian Matis
Thanks for the response, David! It's nice hearing the counterpoint. Something that's been very tricky about this issue is how there is certainly some potential for good improvements that could come of more technical freedom for the infrastructure. I could see allowing some sort of prioritization for "emergency" traffic, much like we do for fire trucks and ambulances on roadways, for example... But if left up to an ISP, what would be termed "emergency" traffic? The highest bidder?

If the ISP starts saying that some traffic types are more important than others (i.e. VOIP more important than mass emails) then won't some people start thinking that their email is more important than when I'm trying to play World of Warcraft (a claim I'll disagree with ;-)

I think the key dividing line may be in how much someone trusts the big carriers to use their powers for good. And personally, I really don't. Perhaps it's because the one truly terrible customer service experience I've ever encountered, the one time I got seriously angry, was with my cable company...

Another point: In your example, you mention VOIP service being impacted by spam. But ultimately, why would I not get my throughput? Is the argument for eliminating net neutrality in order to bring about speed improvements really just a way to try to avoid overall bandwidth improvements?

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