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Net Neutrality was the keyword of the 12th of July, a day that saw people uniting in what became a worldwide Internet protest of large proportions, all with the purpose of fighting for their right to an open Internet.  

 

What is Net Neutrality and why should anyone care?

 

Net Neutrality represents a promise that the content you find on the Internet is openly available to all its users, uncensored by ISPs or the interests of various political parties, as well as being an obstacle, preventing ISPs from charging higher rates for preferential treatment of businesses or charging the common Internet user more in order to allow them access to the content they actually want to see. 

 

How does Net Neutrality affect the general population? What about small business owners?

 

In this day and age, Net Neutrality is important for a vast number of reasons, as the Internet has become a common staple in everyone’s life. We have grown to rely on it for everyday tasks – such as staying in contact with our loved ones, read up on our favorite subjects, do some shopping in our spare time, or watch the newest TEDx talk. Furthermore, with the Internet’s help, small business owners can stay on top of everything, delegating responsibilities, checking up on how projects are evolving, marketing and getting their name out to the public. To sum up, the Internet basically simplified numerous activities that previously took up far more time and effort. Now, everything can be done at the touch of a button. 

 

But what if you would wake up one day and found yourself waiting an unusual amount of time to read the latest news, access your favorite blogs, or loading up that documentary you’ve been wanting to watch? What if your customers suddenly couldn’t reach you as easily anymore or you couldn’t set up a business meeting in time? All this and much worse could come to pass if the attack on Net Neutrality succeeds. 

 

The end of Net Neutrality would launch us into a completely new Internet era. As much as we rely on the Internet for trivial tasks, we also use it for more important ones, as well. Consider just how important the Internet has been in the past years when it came to fighting social injustice, for example. Think about all the times that the media has attempted to manipulate its audience, by only presenting incomplete facts. The Internet makes certain that the people the media try to silence are still heard loud and clear by everyone around the globe. Internet freedom – Net Neutrality – is one of the greatest weapons we have against such manipulations and they want to take it away from us.

 

In essence, the attack on Net Neutrality is an attack on the freedom of speech and freedom of knowledge. We have all used the Internet to research a particular subject and been grateful for the multitude of sources and perspectives we found online, all of which gave us the opportunity to make up our own minds on the subject. Without Net Neutrality, this access to information would be severely affected, leaving us at the hands of the media and the political parties that control them.

 

From a business perspective, the end of Net Neutrality could mean the end of small businesses. New companies rely on the Internet to advertise their brand, reach new customers, and offer their services to a wider audience. You might think that the bigger corporations would be safe, but think again. What do you think would happen if the owner of a multinational company dared speak against the attack on Net Neutrality and the people behind it? We’re willing to bet that ISPs would reciprocate, throttling or banning the access to that company’s website and online services. You could find yourself banned from accessing your own website, as well as any of the platforms we use on a daily basis, such as Google, Apple, Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Vimeo, Reddit, or whatever other website that you could think of.

 

What got us in this place, you ask? That’s quite simple: The new Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, has his sight set on ending Net Neutrality. If his attempt succeeds, Internet Service Providers would be given control over the manner in which we experience the Internet. This would allow them to treat the content you now have open access to in a differentiated manner. You would find yourself unable to access certain content or slowed down in the process, if, say, we were talking about something with a political tone and the content was not in accordance with the policies your ISP promotes. It should be noted that Ajit Pai was formerly a lawyer for Verizon, a company which has its history of throttling the access its users had to certain information online, and as such, his reasons for taking these steps are quite questionable.

 

The Internet fights back!

 

The battle for the Internet has already started, with the 12th of July marking what was said to be one of the biggest digital protests in history. An impressive number of companies (such as Twitter, Amazon, Vimeo) and advocacy groups (Greenpeace, Change.org) joined the protest, encouraging their users to do the same and fight for Net Neutrality. 

 

Using the Internet as their platform, proving once more its importance when it comes to the freedom of speech and its ability to ensure that the message is read by people all over the world, the leaders of some of the biggest companies online have shared their opinions on Net Neutrality: 

 

Mark Zuckerberg took the time to express his opinion on why Net Neutrality is important, on his Facebook page

“Today people across the US are rallying together to save net neutrality. Net neutrality is the idea that the internet should be free and open for everyone. If a service provider can block you from seeing certain content or can make you pay extra for it, that hurts all of us and we should have rules against it. Right now, the FCC has rules in place to make sure the internet continues to be an open platform for everyone. At Facebook, we strongly support those rules. We're also open to working with members of Congress and anyone else on laws to protect net neutrality. If we want everyone in the world to have access to all the opportunities that come with the internet, we need to keep the internet free and open.” 

These words come from the man that owns a social media platform that promotes freedom of speech, freedom of communication, and no space boundaries. His reaction empowers those who fight Net Neutrality. 

 

Dropbox made its voice heard

 

“Policymakers will continue to weigh the best legal framework to safeguard these protections, but our bottom line is that the future of the internet depends on strong net neutrality rules.  We’ll continue to make our voice heard.  And we hope you’ll speak out too. You can find more information and the best ways to get involved here.” 

 

Dropbox users know how important is Net Neutrality for a good functionality of the platform that’s why Dropbox reaction was so strong. 

 

Google couldn’t stand aside either: 

 

“It’s an important chapter in this debate, and we hope you’ll make your voice heard. Tell everyone that you want to keep the Internet free and open. Google and many others are joining together to call on the FCC to preserve the open internet, and we encourage you to act too! Together, we can make our voices heard and we can make a difference.” 

 

Google had made an entire article about Net Neutrality with strong encouragements for those who fight for Net Neutrality. Its reaction is definitely the one we all expected. 

 

Netflix posted a very suggestive banner 

 

 

 

The same goes for Vimeo, Youtube, and Reddit

What can you do to help?

If you want to maintain Internet as it is also, keep your daily internet reading as enjoyable as it is now, get involved in the Battle for the Internet, or maybe even write your own side of this event, share this article, write us a message, or send us an email at marketing@arobs.com and let’s talk about the importance of Net Neutrality.