We members of UCLA Radio understand the importance of free speech. We run programming based on the free expression of thoughts and ideas. Because we are an online-only radio station, we aren’t subject to regulations of the Federal Communications Commission, which censors and hinders some intellectual conversations and debate in other sources of media.
So naturally, when I saw a news article about a new FCC proposition that would affect the internet, I got curious.
Here are some must reads: first, this article from May 12th in the LA Times describing the general premise of the proposition set forth by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. It involves the costs of internet providers and the discrepancy between fast and slower internet service to be charged at different rates. Because it would need to gain some control over internet traffic in order to differentiate the internet “speeds,” the proposed regulation of this issue would inadvertently cause the FCC to gain some control over content put on the internet.
In response, this article was published in the LA Times the next day describing some of the immediate retaliation against the proposition. In response to Wheeler’s proposed regulation, 240 leading television showrunners and creators encouraged him to avoid any measures that would limit Internet freedom in a letter sent on Tuesday. The letter states, “The open Internet is the greatest technological catalyst to participatory democracy and free speech since the printing press.” Already, concern for what this action could have on the raw integrity of internet content is developing.
No decisive action has been taken by Wheeler and the FCC yet, but it is probably good to keep informed on the situation as it affects us UCLA Radio members and millions of others just like us.
Cheaper mobile calls and open internet: MEPs and ministers strike informal deal
An informal deal to ban surcharges (“roaming fees”) for making mobile phone calls, sending text messages or using the internet while abroad in another EU country from 15 June 2017 was struck by MEPs and EU ministers in the small hours of Tuesday 30 June morning. MEPs also inserted guarantees that all internet traffic is treated equally, without discrimination. To enter into force, this informal deal needs to be formally endorsed by the full Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
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Here at OpenMedia, we’re inspired every day by the passion that ordinary Canadians show about their digital future, free expression, and our fundamental rights to privacy. We feel privileged to be a part of this national conversation and to serve you, our OpenMedia.ca community. Thank you for your support and happy Canada Day to everyone!
Imagine a different world. Where your mail carrier, fed ex, ups etc decide what mail you get. They look at the senders address then determine by their rules how long it takes to get to you. Maybe a month? Maybe 6? A year? Maybe it never shows up at all. Imagine a world where companies pay the postal services for priority on how fast their letter gets to you. And imagine if they looked at where you were sending, checked it against a stall list and it took 6 months for an important correspondence to get through.
Imagine a world like that. Now realize that’s exactly what might be happening with your internet.
The carriers or internet providers want to slow down your connection if you don’t go to their sites or partner sites. They want to charge companies to not have their sites slowed down. Netflix has already paid after having been slowed down by certain internet providers.. Why in the world are we just letting it happen? Why should those who provide access, who carry the signal dictate where that signal/connection goes? Why does the postal carrier have any damn right to hold back your mail because you’re not sending it to one of their address’?
But the postal carrier isn’t doing that. Your internet company does.
This is kind of last minute, and I’m sorry I didn’t post this earlier. Tomorrow is the deadline for getting your comments sent in to the FCC regarding their proposals which would allow ISPs to give preferential delivery to some content through “fast lanes”. I’ve been an Internet user since the ‘80s. I’ve seen it grow into something absolutely incredible. I believe the Internet has so much potential for humanity as a whole, not just America. But if we allow corporations and governments to break the neutrality that it is built on, we could lose this incredible tool.
Here’s a link to an article with more information:
This is the email to write the FCC and tell them what you think:
Finally, here’s a copy of what I wrote to them, just to share my thoughts:
The Internet is an amazing tool for information and free speech. It provides our citizens with access to their government’s services, opportunities for employment, commerce, financial services, a forum for airing opinions and so much more. The United Nations has even recognized unfiltered Internet access as a modern human right which must be protected to support people’s right to open expression. ISPs are the gatekeepers to this incredible resource, and they profit mightily from it. It would be detrimental to the people of our great country to allow these corporations to pick and choose who gets access via “fast lanes” or other filtering and preferential treatment.
The FCC has a responsibility to oversee carriers of communications services and make sure that they are providing fair access at reasonable prices to all people.The Internet is the largest communications tool our world has ever known. It is time to clearly recognize ISPs status as common carriers and they must conform to the laws as such. Neutrality, competition, investment and innovation will not be served by allowing a handful of mega-corporations to happily slice up the country into their own little territories. What we have now does not look like competition to me - it looks like a burgeoning monopoly that is happy to buy it’s way into legality. Our government must serve the people’s needs, not the corporations’ desires. The FCC must be re-armed with the tools to enforce the fair regulations that it develops.
Stand up to ensure our people will have fair and equal access to the Internet and all of the opportunities it provides. Thank you.
If the open Internet means something to you, take a few minutes and fire off an email today. July 15th is the deadline.