aNewDomain.net — Netflix, that beloved media streaming service, may have just become our hero. Why? Last week’s federal court decision, an already-infamous event in the history of information and technology, has essentially spelled doom for the Federal Communications Commission’s restrictions on whether Internet service providers can provide preferential treatment to certain content. But Netflix, our hero, has come out staunchly in favor of net-neutrality regulation. It’s streaming business depends on serving up large amounts of data. It’s a boon to the red-and-black providers of endless entertainment. Its 32 million customers can now be counted as supporters of the cause.
Image credit: freepress.net
Unfortunately, Verizon successfully challenged the U.S. net neutrality rules. In principle, a domestic ISP now can legally impede the video streams that members request from Netflix, degrading the experience we jointly provide. The motivation could be to get Netflix to pay fees to stop this degradation. Were this draconian scenario to unfold with some ISP, we would vigorously protest and encourage our members to demand the open Internet they are paying their ISP to deliver.”
Participating in a Google + Hangout President Obama came out in favor of Net Neutrality.Obama said, “It’s something that I’ve cared deeply about ever since I ran for office. My own campaign was empowered by a free and open internet and the ability for citizens all across this country to engage and create and find new ways and new tools to mobilize themselves.” Obama said his rise to the presidency not have been possible if “there were a bunch of commercial barriers and roadblocks” between he and his supporters.
Our Point of View
If our regulators acted in the best interests of the people, they would force the monopolist ISPs to upgrade their networks and provide service to under-served communities (i.e. rural areas). However, regulators continue to supply the ISPs with more power and influence — in the realm of enterprise options and dominance over population groups. And in return they ask for nothing.
This ruling means there is nobody to protect us from ISPs that block or discriminate against websites, applications or services. Those controlling the connection to the Internet now have control of the content that can be seen — a truly terrifying reality.
All hope is not lost — FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler can still correct the agency’s past mistakes. He and the FCC still have the capability to truly protect our nation’s communications infrastructure. The agency must take the necessary steps to make broadband networks open, accessible, reliable and affordable for everyone. These are basic rights, and they should be recognized as such.
Call to Action
Today’s decision on Net Neutrality could signal the end of the Internet as we know it. For freedom’s sake we can’t let this happen.
Just last week hundreds of community members at the #OaklandVoices Town Hall delivered a clear message to the chairman that an open Internet is essential for the political and economic vitality of their families. Hundreds of communities across the country believe the same. The path forward is clear: The FCC can and must reassert its authority over this essential communications infrastructure and protect the millions of Internet users now left in the cold.”
Read the thoughts of more concerned voices here.
It is encouraging that a player as large as Netflix has so readily thrown in its support. Of course, they have their business to consider. But freedom is at stake here, too. The Internet must stay free and open, and our government must take action to ensure its protection.
Based in Australia, David Michaelis is a world-renowned international journalist and founder of Link Tv. At aNewDomain.net, he covers the global beat, focusing on politics and other international topics of note for our readers in a variety of forums. Email him atDavidMc@aNewDomain.net.