What is net neutrality? Who benefits from ending the rules that govern it? And how does it affect regular internet-loving folks like you and I?
For a topic that’s so exhaustingly discussed, the confusion revolving around the net neutrality concept is astounding… And no one stands to lose more in this debate than underserved communities. At the core of it is the principle that Internet service providers should treat all traffic on their networks equally, with people on both sides of center advocating for more or less restrictions as to how relaxed or strict the rules regulating broadband service should be.
While guests on my hangout— FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Jason Llorenz and Arturo Carmona —did not necessarily reach a consensus, they did address many of the concerns and questions in everyone’s minds. Carmona reiterated Presente’s position against new regulations: “We’re very concerned about some of the proposals on the table. […] The Wheeler proposal is a direct affront to our ability to protect our democracy.”
Llorenz, on the other hand, believes there’s another issue deserving of more attention for our communities. As he put it: “Latinos, African Americans and rural communities have very little participation in those businesses and in [the internet’s] economic opportunity. And THAT is the issue of our time.”
Commissioner Clyburn, on the other hand, focused on stressing the importance for the public to engage in the debate: “The public has about 100 days to engage to weigh in, to tell the FCC ‘This is what my vision of an online engagement should be and FCC, I hope you listen.’ ”
Here are some other favorite quotes from the exchange, ready for you to tweet:
The biggest takeaway of the conversation, for me anyway, was the need for people to express their opinion on the FCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking to protect and promote the Open Internet. Regardless of who you side with in this debate, the only way you can have any effect in how this plays out is by getting our voices in the debate.
I encourage you to watch the video and learn about this complex issue and how it directly affects you. Most importantly, though, I hope make your voice heard. But you gotta hurry! The comment period ends on September 10, 2014. Now that the floor is now open for public comment, the very future of the internet is in YOUR hands!