While you were all busy thinking about something else the FCC made the tragic (even if inevitable) decision to allow ISP providers, or content providers, who pay more to give speedier access to customers. That is really how they are describing it to people. So you might think, hey great! I can pay for faster download speeds for my streaming content. Here in America what we really want is to be plugged into our various pleasure devices as the world literally collapses around us. But that is who we have become. That is what we are. So no one is going to protest this if they actually want this change to take effect. But those of us who have become comfortable with the freedom of choice — the freedom of speech — the equal access for all just lost big. Really big. What’s depressing about this? How few people give a shit. The only way to stop this if people get mad. Really mad. Like protesting with signs and pitchforks mad. Is that going to happen? I doubt it. Maybe Anonymous or 4Chan can do some serious damage to block this or protest this. But other than that, Americans don’t give a damn.

From Mother Jones:

The Federal Communications Commission plans to propose new open Internet rules on Thursday that would allow content companies to pay Internet service providers for special access to consumers, according to a person familiar with the proposal.

The proposed rules would prevent the service providers from blocking or discriminating against specific websites, but would allow broadband providers to give some traffic preferential treatment, so long as such arrangements are available on “commercially reasonable” terms for all interested content companies. Whether the terms are commercially reasonable would be decided by the FCC on a case-by-case basis.

…The FCC’s proposal would allow some forms of discrimination while preventing companies from slowing down or blocking specific websites, which likely won’t satisfy all proponents of net neutrality, the concept that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. The Commission has also decided for now against reclassifying broadband as a public utility, which would subject ISPs to much greater regulation. However, the Commission has left the reclassification option on the table at present.

So Google and Microsoft and Netflix and other large, well-capitalized incumbents will pay for speedy service. Smaller companies that can’t—or that ISPs just aren’t interested in dealing with—will get whatever plodding service is left for everyone else. ISPs won’t be allowed to deliberately slow down traffic from specific sites, but that’s about all that’s left of net neutrality. Once you’ve approved the notion of two-tier service, it hardly matters whether you’re speeding up some of the sites or slowing down others.

This might have been inevitable, for both legal and commercial reasons. But that doesn’t mean we have to like it.

This is simply not right. The blocking of sites they say won’t be allowed? That’s coming next. This is a slippery slope and once the freedom is controlled by money the freedom ends.  I have been online since 1994 and I remember when there was diversity among internet service providers. Think about it, though. Time Warner and Comcast are merging. There isn’t going to be diversity or competition among service providers – there will be one source of information and that source threatens to become controlled by the same thing that has crippled our Supreme Court: money.

Sign a petition if you can. Have a fit publicly. DO SOMETHING.

Here are a few things you can do:

Write to the FCC and tell them you simply do not accept any action that hinders, controls or limits the freedom available on the internet:

Go here

This site has a lot of useful action you can take as a citizen to prevent this from happening.

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  • Christophe

    “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

  • SallyinChicago

    I’ve signed the petition before and wrote/email friends to do the same. I think this is a moot point because the Government does whatever corporations want it to do. I think what has to happen is that internet users have to a) start using a “pay as you go” type service; or b) cut the cord, like they’re doing with cable, which is impossible to do. Altho, I do know some older people who don’t even know what the internet is and they get by.
    What about SCHOOLS and UNIVERSITIES? How are they going to cope with this “poll” tax to use the internet?

  • Bryce Forestieri

    OT: Finally got to see UNDER THE SKIN and I have been revitalized. It is all too brief but mountingly delightful affair with the cinema. As spiritual, meditative and thematically anthropological as it is indulgent in its spectacle — not so much Lynchian, but with the best use of his cinematic vocabulary, that is the surreal drama, since Lynch stopped making films; though the plot is rather straightforward with some missing links in the chronology of the tale, and sequences which could easily be interpreted as psychological events from the hitchhikers POV, or they could be interpreted in more “conventional” sci-fi fashion, but hey, whatever lets you sleep at night. Also present is the most heartbreaking and exacting use of body horror since DEAD RINGERS…And a career high for Scarlett Johansson; her character indeed modeled after that one in THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, but this one played as a harrowing showdown between otherworldliness, which includes sense of mission and survival, and detached compassion.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Also was thinking while Cannes is still the undoubted king of film festivals how peculiar that in the last two years (and this is only in regards to English-language cinema) the films with the most sophisticated, significant and authoritative use of the form have all premiered at Venice. I’m specifically talking about THE MASTER, GRAVITY, SPRING BREAKERS, and UNDER THE SKIN. I’m not so sure to include Malick’s TO THE WONDER because I’ve only seen it once and the viewing was highly emotional and consistently immaculate so I don’t want to be careless — anyways, talk about consummate grasp of the cinematic language. Christ.

  • bennett

    I heard that in Brazil President Dilma Rousseff approved this week (or last week, I don’t recall) some kind of civil code for internet regulation. Net neutrality was kept untouchable, despite the companies lobby towards unequally charging. I read somewhere that the guy who invented the internet back in the sixties actually said he had never seen such an outstanding legal basis about internet regulation and Brazil’s example should be followed by every country worldwide. I guess he was concerned about US. It’s such a shame that here the government is paying his debts to the investidors and transfering to these companies all the sovereignty of our State. Bullshit

  • moviewatcher

    This is the first petition I’ve ever signed online. This is a disastrous issue if it goes the wrong way.

    Btw, Sasha, I’m not sure I’m reading your definition of net neutrality correctly. If Net Neutrality is abolished, then service providers like Comcast can favor websites and content providers like Netflix and Facebook in terms of how fast they get to our computers. The big websites who have the money to pay Comcast will get preferential treatment on the internet. It’s not that we pay more to have better/faster internet overall, it’s the other way around.

  • bennett

    This is the text I referred earlier. The opposite of what’s happening here.

  • Igor Sousa


    Indeed she did it two days ago. It was really celebrated to everyone who cares about this neutrality, despite there are some stupid pricks (right parties) who insist on criticizing that the code will be harmful to privacy issues.

    I’m really proud of it. It was a long fight to guarantee our right

  • I admit to not completely understanding this issue. But I do understand how government works. Kinda. And I think this one is probably going to have to be handled by the hackers for us. The FCC is not our friends. They don’t care what you or I want. If they did they would have given us the fast internet they have in the rest of the world and wouldn’t make it a price issue for us. I don’t know if our overseas friends know, but our internet is super high priced and slow right now.

    But even though I think this is a job for the hackers, you should always do something. What we can do and what “they” listen to is money going away from them. So when they do bad things in favor of a particular company you threaten to take away your money from that company. And then, here’s the kicker, you actually do it.

    A few years ago they made it so that you had to have cable to get any channels clearly by forcing all the channels to be broadcast digitally. If you had an older TV you weren’t going to pick up anything anymore. But even if you had a new one you had to go out and get an antenna, that didn’t end up working, just to pick up your local channels. This forces people to deal with these cable companies if you want to watch TV at all. Now they’re ready to merge and make life miserable for everyone so what do you do? Get rid of cable? Of course not, but you could get LESS cable. And when you call to downgrade your service you can tell the agent that the reason is because you’re protesting these rules.

    Then you can write to Google and tell them you’re going to stop using their services because of these rules. And then you can write to Microsoft and tell them that in the future you won’t buy their computers. And you can write to Netflix and tell them that you’ll just go to the movies in real life AS YOU CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION. You can’t just threaten. You have to do the stuff. Don’t start something you’re not willing to finish.

    So at that point you just wait around for the hackers and millennials to get us some other options. In the meantime if you want to deal with your leaders and Congresspeople I’d say, try your best to talk to them in real life too. I wrote John Kerry an email when he was my senator once telling him I disagreed with something he was pushing for and I got a form email back saying “Thank’s for supporting this issue”. Another example, I’m fairly certain Elizabeth Warren was in my town today. If I had a bee in my bonnet about something I probably would have been able, just as a normal person, to go up and say something. It might have been a book signing actually. Look for your opportunities. Sometimes these people even have town halls and local representatives often have office hours. Just make sure you know who you’re dealing with first and that they’re not part of Hydra. You don’t want to get droned.

    And then you know, if you don’t have to for work, cancel your home internet. Take your tablets and laptops to the library, where they have free Wifi. Take them to McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, or the local college. Sometimes you can sit in a lounge area and use their Wifi even if you aren’t a student. Not by sneaking, they actually allow it. There are a bunch of ways you can do your own little protests and then if enough people do it it makes a wave.

    In Sasha’s case, her talent is for writing. So she should write something really schmaltzy about the ruination of America and how this will affect all the little children and send it into the editorial page for sure. Just the way the local news says during a commercial break, “There’s a new thing that’s going to poison your children. Tune in at 11 to find out what it is.” You tell them that all these horrible things the FCC are doing are going to ruin all the American babies forever, even the white ones. That should do it.

    And if there are any local protest where you have to show up, by all means SHOW UP. Nothing scares them more than a bunch of lazy people who actually left the house.

  • I really like this contribution, Antoinette.

  • Christophe

    Ryan + Antoinette,

    I have to admit, when she mentioned white babies, it really brought the point home!

  • Robin Write

    Sorry to be a bit of a dunce, but I don’t fully understand this. I get it is bad news, but can someone explain what this means like I am a five year old. Being from the UK things are probably different here regarding what we pay and what we get regarding internet coverage. I probably get it, but need that clarity.

    No I have not had too much to drink. 😀

  • Jesus Alonso

    Welcome to NEOfeudalism, the logical evolution of capitalism.

    Freedom? You never had it, in the first place, just a nice mirage of it.

  • As a response to Bryce, I’m in total agreement. Venice is where it’s at.

  • steve50

    Brava, Antoinette! For sure – if you don’t agree but don’t say anything, you have no right to bitch and deserve all that comes your way as a result.

    Yes, Jesus – just like what happened in the early days of every other industry like oil, auto, food production, media – the big fish not only want to be the most successful, they want to eat (or drive off) all the little fish.

    I’m just waiting for the “patriotism” and “it’s the capitalist way” shoes to drop in the argument which will herd the truly ignorant majority down the chute.

  • Kane

    Antoinette, that was well written and worth a couple of reads.

  • moviewatcher

    Robin Write: If Net Neutrality is abolished, then service providers like Comcast can favor websites and content providers like Netflix and Facebook in terms of how fast they get to our computers. The big websites who have the money to pay Comcast will get preferential treatment on the internet. In short, freedom on the internet (in the US… for now…) will be over.

  • Robin Write

    @moviewatcher Thanks for that. That’s what I thought, but just didn’t want to swim in a pool without checking the temperature first – so to speak.

    I cannot really gauge right now if the American internet is way over-priced and super slow compared to ours here in the UK. Without getting into it too much, where I live has a very county-specific internet provider, and they charge more than all the “national” providers – so we have to either move counties, or suck it up.

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