In what is likely the least shocking news of the century it seems as if cable companies are paying people to shout down virtually every other sane person that’s in favor of net neutrality. This isn’t even unbelievable in the slightest. Who in their right mind is against net neutrality? Let me rephrase that, who in their right mind that doesn’t stand to make lots of money by ending net neutrality would be against it.
Here’s a just a little glimpse of what the internet might look like without net neutrality. You can see why cable/media companies are so keen on killing off net neutrality, because there’s a crap ton of money to be made by killing it.
As you can see by this chart the United States already has some of the slowest broadband speeds in the world even though we pay significantly higher prices than countries with much higher broadband speeds than us.
Now VICE is reporting that cable companies are going so far as to pay astroturfers to sign the praises of what life would be like if cable companies could legally create a fast lane and a slow lane and charge websites and people extra money to be able to use something barely faster than dialup.
Another group leading the charge is the American Consumer Institute. The organization recently filed a letter with the FCC opposing reclassification, and argues that ISPs should be left alone. “The fact is that the broadband market is competitive and becoming more so,” wrote ACI, which claims that consumers currently enjoy “increased choice.” In January, ACI called the Verizon lawsuit that struck down the original FCC net-neutrality guidelines, “a victory for consumers.”
Why would a self-professed consumer advocacy group not only oppose moving toward net neutrality but claim that America’s broadband market—one of the slowest, most expensive in the industrialized world with fewer than three choices in many parts of the country—is so great?
Perhaps because ACI, like Broadband for America, is financed by an ISP lobby group. Annual tax returns show that a foundation controlled by lobbyists from the cell phone industry, called MyWireless.org, has contributed to ACI since 2010.
Other cable-funded allies have helped spread doubt about net neutrality. “If broadband providers want to start charging Netflix and Google for hogging all the bandwidth, that is their right as the owners of those networks,” said Jim Lakely of the Heartland Institute, who called net neutrality regulations “a solution in search of a problem.”
Leaked documents from the Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank famous for shilling on behalf of corporate donors, show major funds from Comcast, AT&T, and Time Warner Cable.
What can we do about it? Make noise. As much noise as possible. Write about it, talk about it but most importantly call your congressman and representative every day or once a week or just once and let them know where you stand on net neutrality and that you want the internet to remain open and fair.
Last week John Oliver urged viewers of on his show to go to the FCC website and leave comments on net neutrality. Within hours over 45,000 comments had been left and the FCC’s website crashed from the amount of traffic it was receiving.
We’ve been experiencing technical difficulties with our comment system due to heavy traffic. We’re working to resolve these issues quickly.
— The FCC (@FCC) June 2, 2014
So let’s get to it and make some noise. Here is a link to find your local representative. And here’s a link that you can use that actually pulls up both your congressmen and your local representatives.