Net Neutrality, or why you don’t pay extra for Netflix

net neutrality
net neutrality
You don’t think your favorite content producers are going to pay to reach you, do you? – via battleforthenet.com

You might have noticed that Netflix, Reddit, Kickstarter, Spotify, and a ton more websites added an element. Wondering what the Battle for the Net is? Read on, because it can (and probably will) affect what you are allowed to see on the internet.

Remember dialup? I don’t. I wasn’t on the internet then (how times change). But from what I’ve heard it was terrible. Come to think of it, current “broadband” isn’t that fast either. But imagine how much more frustrating your life would be if you didn’t just have to pay for Netflix and Spotify – what if you had to pay for them twice?

net neutrality screenshot
Who’s watching, indeed?  And are they selling your browsing habits?
Enter Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality argues that internet service providers (ISPs) such as AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, or Charter (to name some big ones) should ONLY be that: service providers. Under a neutral internet, companies would be legally stopped from slowing down some sites but not others to try and extort money from them (Comcast and Verizon have already tried this).

Want to actually use the internet you pay for?

Then take action. Protect Title II regulations, which classify telecommunications companies (ISPs included) as a common carrier. Those regulations specifically protect consumers against “unjust or unreasonable discrimination,” including making you pay extra just to use YouTube or Spotify.

Some, however, think that Title II shouldn’t apply, in part because of its age.  AT&T has publicized its support for a free and open internet without blocking, censorship, or throttling, though the company does not necessarily support Title II regulations.  And the company has a point – telecommunications have fundamentally changed from one-time, point-to-point interaction between individuals to a centralized spiderweb of constant connection.  While Title II regulations under the FCC might seem like a fix in the short term, they are more vulnerable to party whims than independent legislation.

trump call
He (probably) won’t answer, but you sure can keep his staffers busy! – via abcnews.com
How can you get involved?

Emailing people often results in your email dropped right into the spam folder. So call your representatives at their offices at instead! You can look up who represents you on Facebook by going to facebook.com/townhall. Click on “Contact,” and their phone number appears. Calling your representatives does the most good, as it takes up time and makes a greater impression than any other kind of communication.

You can also officially register your opinion right here on the FCC website.

Bham Now supports Net Neutrality because we can’t afford to pay extra to keep up.

Author: James Ozment

I’m a Birmingham native who loves music, cycling, reading, and tech. Find me on the campus of Birmingham-Southern College, in Avondale, or hanging out with my cat