When working with new digital media and the internet, one always presumes free and open means just that – easily accessible information, equally available to those that use the technologies. The reality, of course, is different. In the past weeks, there have been discussions evolving around the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), which released a statement to introduce new rules that would allow ISPs to charge companies a premium rate for content, or an Internet “fast lane”. This would mean that certain companies with a larger financial backdrop can pay to have their sites working faster, while non-profit internet sites would neccessarily be slower and less accessible. This obviously sparked a heated conversation on net neutrality. The concept of net neutrality was originally introduced by Tim Wu, 41, a law professor at Columbia University, and it basically states that “The cable and telephone companies that control important parts of the plumbing of the Internet shouldn’t restrict how the rest of us use it.”
Last Monday the FCC chairman Tom Wheeler responded to the waves of criticism and revised the proposal, as Roger Yu stated on USA Today. The other FCC commissioners will vote on the revised proposal tomorrow.
The meeting should be eventful, as grassroot activists have called upon the public to join them at the FCC headquarters to enforce their claim on netneutrality. Marguerite Reardon did a write-up for Cnet on the protesters side after interviewing Becky Bond, political director at CREDO. The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has also called upon the public to take action to defend net neutrality.