NOT a political issue

Net neutrality, for a genealogist, is not a political issue.

It’s a pocketbook issue.

And it’s one that could hit every one of us in our pocketbooks if we lose the protections of rules guaranteeing net neutrality.

Rules that are in dire jeopardy because of a vote scheduled tomorrow before the Federal Communications Commission.

Here’s what net neutrality is — and why it’s important to those of us who live on our computers and our internet connections, like The Legal Genealogist and so many in our genealogical community.

Net neutrality rules mean that internet service providers — the cable companies and wireless firms like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and others — have to treat all content on the internet the same way. They can’t charge more to a content provider like, say, The Legal Genealogist, to show up in your daily email or on your screen, and they can’t charge you more for access to, say, Netflix.

Net neutrality rules mean that content providers who can’t afford to pay big bucks still get the same bandwidth as content providers who can afford it.

Think FamilySearch as a free website on one side, and your choice of Big Genealogy Subscription website as a pay service on the other side. With net neutrality rules, both get the same right to send data out on the web, and you get access to both the same way. Without net neutrality rules, the service providers could throttle the free one back in favor of the paid service, or make you pay more for one than the other.

Net neutrality rules also mean the service providers can’t charge us more as individual consumers depending on what kind of content we get on the web. Think YouTube videos from the National Archives on one side, and Netflix on the other. With net neutrality rules, both get the same right to send data out on the web, and you get access to both the same way. Without net neutrality rules, the service providers could throttle the free one back in favor of the paid service, or make you pay more for one than the other.

This even applies to email. With net neutrality rules, anyone who emails you gets the same right to send that email out on the web, and you get access to both the same way. Without net neutrality rules, the service providers could throttle email from, say, your cousins back in favor of emails from advertisers who paid for faster access, or make you pay more for one than the other.

Here’s a video (via Facebook) that explains this all in more detail (and you can click on this link if you don’t see the video or can’t access it for any reason here):

 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a proposal to end net neutrality rules. You can speak out, today, in favor of keeping the rules:

1. Go to this link for the FCC comment page
2. Click on the 17-108 link (Restoring Internet Freedom)
2. Click on “+Express”
3. Be sure to hit “ENTER” (or return) on your keyboard after you put in your name, so it registers. (They make it a tad tricky there.)
4. In the comment section write, “I strongly support net neutrality backed by Title 2 oversight of ISPs.”
5. Click to Review, then Submit, done. – Make sure you hit submit at the end!

But the reality is, the FCC vote is likely to go against net neutrality no matter what people say today. So the fight needs to be taken to Congress. We all — as individual consumers of internet content — need to consider whether we wish to join the Battle for the Net. Online, in social media, the call is out to Break the Internet in support of net neutrality.

Speak out in favor of net neutrality — in support of equal access to net content — because the alternative may very well be that you’ll someday soon face an announcement like this right here at The Legal Genealogist:

bandwidth limit

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