I mentioned this issue in yesterday's mailbag post, but I thought I would do a FanPost to highlight the fact that the FCC is really about to change our blogging lives for the worse. It will very likely have an effect on how we participate with each other here on DenverStiffs and on other SBNation sites as well as our political blogs, as well as our ability to stream video or access content from sites other than very few select sites that can afford to pay Verizon, ATT and Comcast and other ISPs.
The concept of net-neutrality is to treat all data on the internet equally. In the past, outsiders like whoever started youtube, SBNation, wikipedia, netflix, facebook, etc. were able to get a foothold because of their innovation and quality of content. Now the service providers are targeting these high use sites by claiming that accessing their data uses too much of the internet, and wanting to charge them and us money for access to this data. It stifles innovation by the next generation of internet companies, puts successful but small companies and non-profits on the internet either out of business or in a bad way, and limits our access to pretty much only the mega-successful sites at a higher cost.
As it relates to DenverStiffs, imagine a world where SBNation can't pay the internet providers their special extra fee to be considered a "preferred site", so we don't get access to SBNation on equal basis as say a sports site that can afford to pay the special fee (oh, I don't know..... let's say ESPN). Readers then get tired of slow access to DenverStiffs, especially when we are forced to pay more per month to get access to the preferred sites and we find that accessing ESPN for our Nuggets news is less of a hassle and we frequent it more. SBNation and DenverStiffs whither on the vine and all of a sudden we're limited to Nuggets' analysis from Jon Barry and Stephen A. Smith.
As it relates to politics, a lot of political blogs are not affiliated with any mega-corporation and are non-profits. They can't afford to pay the internet providers so they shut down, or again, access to their content becomes unbearably slow, like in the dial-up days. Imagine that Verizon, ATT or Comcast also decide they don't like a political blog's post entitled (COMCAST SUCKS!). The internet companies have power without net neutrality to channel data to people from sites they like who make posts like (COMCAST ROCKS!). Corporate censorship will be a very real concern in a post net-neutrality world.
So although I'm linking below to DailyKos article, this is not a liberal partisan issue. I link to it because the DailyKos staffer, Joan McCarter, has been all over this issue and mobilizing dissent to the pending rule. The censorship concerns cut both ways politically, and many of the innovative websites that have flourished under net neutrality have been founded by conservative or libertarian people (e.g. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook). Furthermore, the butt-head proposing the rule to gut net neutrality is an Obama appointee despite Obama's previous verbal support for net neutrality (way to alienate most of the voters who elected you in advance of the midterms Obama! grr....)
So as it stands right now, the deadline for objections to the proposed rule have been extended from May 7 to May 15. Momentum is building to preserve net neutrality, including not just the lefties like Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, etc., but also seemingly one of GOP seats on the FCC commission (a very positive development!), 50 startup internet companies in Silicon Valley, CEOs of sites that are successful today because of net neutraility (e.g. Netflix, Amazon, Firefox).
Inside the FCC, GOP Commissioner Ajit Pai on Thursday said he had "grave concerns about the chairman’s proposal." Pai, like most Republicans, never has backed strong FCC net neutrality rules—but his statement put him in the company of Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a vocal supporter of open Internet protections who also asked Wheeler to push the vote back.
Meanwhile, Silicon Valley’s top investors took aim: In a letter to the FCC, more than 50 venture capitalists expressed deep misgivings about the creation of an Internet "fast lane," which they said many start-ups and entrepreneurs could never afford to access.
"Start-ups with applications that are advantaged by speed (such as games, video, or payment systems) will be unlikely to overcome that deficit no matter how innovative their service," wrote the group, which included Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, Naval Ravikant of AngelList and Ron Conway of SV Angel.
The bad news is that this extra week gives Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast more time to pour money into the grubby hands of the politicians on both sides of the aisle that they own to some degree or another. While the momentum seems to be on the side of advocates for net neutrality, the intensity of this backlash has to continue until May 15 for net-neutrality to prevail.
Online petitions you can jump in on:
Additionally, all those links Andrew posted to the federal politicians representing Colorado on the very worthy cause of helping those kidnap victims in Nigeria can also be used to write them about this issue as well.
This vote could very well determine the long term viability of DenverStiffs, among many other of our favorite web sites. Make yourself heard.