Net neutrality needs your voice

Net neutrality needs your voice

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, a former cable lobbyist, introduced rules on May 15 that would allow Internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast to charge websites fees for priority treatment.

Under the new rules, ISPs will be able to dictate winners and losers online by charging a premium for loading websites in a timely manner, dividing the Internet into fast lanes for those who can afford it and slow lanes for everyone else. Small businesses will be squeezed out by larger competitors if they can't afford the fees, because their websites will load tens or hundreds of times slower.

We need a level playing field for everyone who uses the Internet so that all websites load in a timely manner, not just those who can afford to "pay to play." Net neutrality puts Internet users, not ISPs, in control of content.

It ensures that ISPs can't speed up, slow down or block Web content based on its source, ownership or destination.

It's time to remind the FCC that its purpose is to protect the public, not prioritize increased profits for a handful of huge corporations over equal access for all Americans.

Because of widespread public outcry when the new rules were proposed, the FCC has left on the table the possibility of restoring real Net neutrality.

To protect real Net neutrality, go to fcc.gov/comments, select "Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet," and ask the FCC to reclassify broadband providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act.

HEATHER OWEN

Champaign

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