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Today Is The Day Of Action To Save Net Neutrality, Please Do Your Part

Save Net Neutrality

If you are enjoying visiting airsoft forums, sharing updates on social media, doing airsoft shopping online, or just plain keeping in touch with family and friends wherever they are, you have the openness of the internet to thank for. Big or small, rich or poor, anyone who has internet connection has access to all the information at the tip of his/her finger tips or be able to put out his/her message that two or two billion internet users may read.

But if such access can become problematic for internet users in the U.S.A. if the Federal Communications Commission pushes to gut Net Neutrality that was put into place in 2015 to prevent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as cable companies and telecommunications from deciding which websites their subscribers can access or slow down the loading of web pages for websites that do not pay a fee for faster data delivery. This means that those websites with more money can have their content delivered faster than smaller websites, such as blogs, small online stores, and websites such as Popular Airsoft.

Those who are pushing for Net Neutrality to be “neutralized” are the companies such as Comcast, Verizon, Charter, Cox, and CenturyLink. All of these are ISPs and they can also be content providers since they own some of the biggest sites such as Yahoo which is now owned by Yahoo. If Net Neutrality is overturned by the FCC, they can prioritise their own online properties over other content providers. Members of the /r/airsoft forum in Reddit might not be able to access it or find it slowed down if Reddit does not pay up for its content to be delivered if Comcast decides that it should pay up to access its subscribers.

Thus, the internet will have two lanes if this happens: 1) an express lane for those who can pay the toll fee imposed by ISPs; and 2) a slow lane for those small websites such as small business sites, blogs, community sites, and non-profit organisations.

According to these ISPs, such regulations on net neutrality will stifle innovation and investment in infrastructure. We can argue for net neutrality that the openness of the internet itself brought unprecedented levels of innovation, development of content and introduction of new services never seen before that to harness and even broaden such many companies have been investing in infrastructure.

Whilst it does not affect internet users outside the U.S., such as those in the E.U. which has strict net neutrality rules, the U.S.A. is still has one of the biggest online populations in the world. For us at Popular Airsoft, we worry that if Net Neutrality gets gutted and if we cannot pay the fee demanded by a U.S. ISP so we can be accessed faster by its subscribers, then it will affect us big time as nearly 40% of our online readership come from the U.S.A. That will cause a big drop in web traffic to us, further affecting revenues through advertising and sponsorships. That will hobble us to continue running the website which is always on a shoe-string budget and might as well shut down since it will be useless to continue.

Thus, even if we are not exactly a content provider based in the U.S.A. (Popular Airsoft is hosted in the U.S.), we are very much in support of the efforts of over 200 internet companies and content providers such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Twitter, Mozilla, Airbnb, etc. in their fight to save Net Neutrality. Coordinated by the Battle for the Net, today, the 12th of July, is the day of action:

“Websites, Internet users, and online communities will come together to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality. We'll provide tools for everyone to make it super easy for your followers / visitors to take action. From the SOPA blackout to the Internet Slowdown, we've shown time and time again that when the Internet comes together, we can stop censorship and corruption. Now, we have to do it again!”

If you want to support the action, do your bit now. You can visit the Battle for the Net website where you can download materials such as banner ads, social media icons, and code to add to your website to have your visitors send a letter to the FCC showing support for Net Neutrality.

The deadline for first comments to the FCC ends on the 17th of July, which is five days from now. Better get those keyboards clacking and the mice clicking to help rally more internet users to send comments and save the internet as an open and free space for everyone.