My friends, you have a task today. So do I.
We have to, have to call our members of congress and tell them to save Net Neutrality. As your favorite blogger, as your buddy, as Pendennis’s mom, I beg you to read this and make that call.
Right away, you must understand that saving Net Neutrality is not a political issue. Saving Net Neutrality has nothing to do with who you voted for for president. It’s got nothing to do with tax cuts, gun control, or the election in Alabama today.
Saving Net Neutrality is about saving ourselves from very, very big businesses that do not care about us. They do not care about me. They do not care about you. The only thing these fat cats care about is making money — all the money — and we have to stop them. At least on this, at least today.
“Mary,” you say — and you’re so annoyed because I promised to talk about the shampoo I found for my wimpy hair — “I’ve heard about this Net Neutrality thing but I’m sorry, I don’t totally get what it is or why it’s a big deal.”
I know. I totally know. This stuff is so complicated. I didn’t get it at first, either. Let me try to break it down in my own words.
Net Neutrality (sometimes called “network neutrality” or “net equality”) is the principle that internet service providers like Verizon or AT&T — governments, too — should treat all data on the internet equally. It means that pages/content won’t load faster or slower because someone decides it should. The neutrality of the net also means that if you want to find information, you’ll find it eventually. No one is blocking you from seeking and finding things if you really want to find them. We all take this access for granted because it’s always just been like this. The internet was designed to be free to roam. Think buffalo.
Let me make it practical. You don’t have to pay more to load Facebook than you do to load PaperGirl. Me n’ Zuckerberg, we load at the same speed. That’s important. All websites, like people, are created equal — or they should be.
Let’s get more detailed, though, with a different example. Let’s say BigCrafty decides to offer longarming services. Well, right now, BigCrafty can’t pay Verizon to load faster than your friend’s longarming website, because — wait for it — the net is neutral like that. It’s a level playing field. Yeah, BigCrafty can buy ads and do pop-ups, but you know you’re being advertised to and you know how big BigCraffty is, that they can afford to get all up in your bidness. A neutral, level playing field means is that your friend can, in theory, compete with BigCrafty because this is a great country. This freedom your friend has to make her longarming business a success (from her freakin’ basement!) is what makes this country great, again and again, every day.
Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced plans to dismantle Net Neutrality. What that means is that powerful, huge, “too big to fail” internet providers like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T will have free reign to slow down sites they don’t like. Just because. They will be able to totally and completely block stuff out of your google searches, just like that. Zap. It means that these icky-poo companies that do not care about us will be able to slice and dice the internet into slow and fast lanes. Why? Because that would make them so, so, so much money. Because we would then have to pay to play, like we do with cable. And your friend’s longarming business? Forget it. It’ll load slower and slower and people will just go with BigCrafty because BigCrafty loads instantly. Because BigCrafty’s in bed with Verizon. Because a guy knows a guy at the FCC. Because the more little guys they squish, the more people see BigCraftsy, faster, and then the fat cats get their bonuses because the bottom line starts looking terrific. Better than ever.
You and I won’t make that money. Verizon will make it all. They will not share. Do not, under any circumstances, get that twisted. Not now. The stakes are too high on this.
I hope I explained it okay. There’s a lot more to it, I know, in terms of ramifications and how it all works. But these are the basics and you know — you know — I have come to you with “issues” so rarely. So this must be really important, right? Right. It is. I care about the internet because the internet is how you and I know each other, day in, day out on the ol’ PG. It’s just a blog. But it’s us. I don’t want Comcast’s grubby fingers all over my monkey, you guys, and I don’t want them getting in the way of what we have.
Find out who your representative is with this great little website: https://callyourrep.co and get their phone number. Then call them. Today. They’re supposed to vote on this thing on Thursday. We gotta get ahead of it. When the office of your rep picks up the phone, just tell them “Save Net Neutrality” or “stop the FCC from dismantling Net Neutrality,” or, “Save Net Neutrality or the monkey dies.”
Anything. Say anything. Whatever you do, save the internet — now.