BATTLE FOR THE INTERNET: Help Small Businesses by Speaking Up for Net Neutrality
We're taking a break from our usual shoe-related posts to speak about a serious issue that has recently arisen in Washington: Net Neutrality.
Not familiar with the term? You're not alone. Net Neutrality is an idea that confuses a lot of people, yet greatly impacts small businesses as well as your overall internet surfing experience.
In a nutshell, Net Neutrality is what we have now. Big sites like Amazon.com and small sites like your dentist's homepage are basically treated the same by your browser. This means they load data at the same rate when you access them (pending variables like web design and server locations).
Now a new legislation threatens to change Net Neutrality. Big internet service provides want to charge a huge fee to businesses to allow their pages to load quickly. Companies and websites that don't pay the fee—or can't afford to pay it—will then be penalized with slower loading times. That's right: most of the sites on the web will actually be made to load slower, all for the sake of financial profit for the top service providers.
Still confused? John Oliver explains it well:
Removing Net Neutrality would be a big blow to small businesses, which would lose impatient customers to the sites of larger, wealthier companies. As a matter of fact, most large companies have even come out against the change because it means they would need to start paying large fees to stay competitive—fees they don't pay now with Net Neutrality. It's only the big service providers that would get the big money, namely Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner and AT&T. These companies have been dubbed "Team Cable" by opponents of this legislation.
For years, Team Cable has been lobbying Congress and the FCC to remove our current Net Neutrality and begin charging fees for faster loading times. They have a lot of money and politicians in their corner, but growing opposition from the public is starting to gain attention. It's not too late to voice your opinion.
Battleforthenet.com is a grassroots site in opposition to the change. They have a letter telling lawmakers to defend net neutrality and they need signatures. Visit their website to add your name to the list!
They have also designated September 10, 2014 as Slow Internet Day. On this day, they are asking people to cover the internet with symbolic "loading" icons to show everyone what an internet without net neutrality would look like. You can download these icons and banners from their site, and even upload an animated version as your Twitter cover photo. Don't worry... the icons won't actually stop your page from loading.
Here's are some examples:
We at Softstar are proud to support Net Neutrality and oppose the legislation that threatens it. We hope you'll be inspired to help small businesses and do the same.