Controversial net neutrality decision to be reached Thursday

The battle for net neutrality goes to the Federal Communications Commission for a decision on Thursday and aims to dismantle decades of open internet protections. The bill is expected to pass with a 3-2 vote along party lines.

Under FCC chair Ajit Pai’s proposed plan, large communications companies such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon would be free to charge any site any amount of money in order to reach its customers. This in effect would be creating network prioritization, or “fast lanes” within their networks, where companies would have to pay in order to get out of the slow lane.

When it comes to the internet, speed is everything. Speed matters online and you have to be fast to compete. If an app or site feels laggy or takes time to load it greatly impacts its usability and may drive consumers away from such offerings.

Senator Maria Cantwell said in a statement to Seattle based news outlet Crosscut, “If Chairman Pai has his way with the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules, the FCC will create a two-tiered internet, allowing Fortune 500 companies to pay for special internet access.”

In the openness and fairness of the internet to offer services and distribute information this poses the greatest risk for startups and smaller websites who may not be able to compete with the larger companies behind this proposed rollback. “This will leave slow lanes for small businesses, and consumers, imperiling the access and innovation that drives the internet economy,” Cantwell goes on to say.

If the proposed net neutrality rules are gutted, the landscape of the internet would change, and while some believe in a bad way, officials from internet providers are doing their best to say otherwise.

Senior Vice President of AT&T Bob Quinn wrote shortly after the proposed bill, “Everyone will be able to access their favorite websites; no one’s traffic will be throttled based on content,” going on to say that they have a “Guarantee to our customers that we will provide service in an open and transparent way.”

Many are left wondering if that’s the case then why such the push for a change? It’s obvious from the wording of the bill that these corporations are trying to control and tax the internet and many have taken to calling and writing their representatives to express their feelings on the matter.

Battleforthenet has tracked nearly a million calls so far, with over 100,000 happening this week alone. Starting Tuesday with less than 48 hours left until the vote, they began a final stand campaign called “Break The Internet” where they offer ways to populate various social media with calls for stopping Pais’ proposal.