Editorial: Why Net Neutrality Matters for Spectrum

Written by: 
Published:
December 12, 2017

Small, independent nonprofits like Adventist Forum, which publishes Spectrum, face a legitimate danger of being throttled by the United States Federal Communications Commission's move to end Net Neutrality. So what is Net Neutrality, and why does it matter to Spectrum and our readership?

When Internet users go online, they expect to be able to access any website of their choosing with the expectation that their Internet Service Providers are not manipulating the speeds at which websites load. In a nutshell, that is Net Neutrality. More specifically, the website Save The Internet describes Net Neutrality as the internet’s guiding principle: It preserves our right to communicate freely online. Net Neutrality is the basic principle that prohibits internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast T-Mobile, and Verizon from speeding up, slowing down, or blocking any content, applications, or websites users may want to access. 

In 2015, millions of activists pressured the Federal Communications Commission to adopt historic Net Neutrality rules to keep the Internet free and open, allowing users to share and access information of their choosing—like Spectrum—without interference from their service providers. Now, that win for an open and free Internet is in danger of being reversed. Current FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, wants to end Net Neutrality. In May, the FCC voted to let Pai’s plan to dismantle Net Neutrality rules move forward. A flood of comments, more than 20 million, reached the FCC urging its members to keep Net Neutrality intact. Nevertheless, the FCC still plans to move forward with Pai's rollback of Net Neutrality.

How Spectrum Could Be Impacted

The Spectrum website relies on an unrestricted Internet to provide content to our readers. If Net Neutrality goes away, small, independent websites like ours will be at the mercy of Internet Service Providers who will likely provide faster loading to sites that pay money and provide some benefit to ISPs. Spectrum could see slower loading times, potentially making this site unusable. Beyond that, ISPs could, if they chose, impose fees to websites in order to make websites load quickly or at all. Additionally, Spectrum's model presupposes the free, unfettered sharing of ideas and conversation. Without Net Neutrality, ISPs could shut down any sites that provide news and views that they dislike . . . for any reason or no reason at all (see for instance Verizon's argument in court to be able to censor news to edit the Internet). 

It doesn't take much imagination to see that the end of Net Neutrality could mean the end for countless small, independent websites like ours. For that reason, we are inviting our readers to take urgent action to help save this website and the Internet as we know it.

Please consider visiting the Online Protest to Stop the FCC to contact your members of Congress, urging them to save Net Neutrality. The future of Independent Adventist Journalism quite literally could depend on it. And thanks!

 

Jared Wright is News Correspondent for SpectrumMagazine.org and former Managing Editor of this website.

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