The Fight for Net Neutrality: What’s the Score?

“We have a duty—a duty to protect what has made the Internet the most dynamic platform for free speech ever invented.  It is our printing press.  It is our town square. It is our individual soapbox and our shared platform for opportunity. That is why I support network neutrality ... We cannot have a two-tiered Internet with fast lanes that speed the traffic of the privileged and leave the rest of us lagging behind."

This was a statement given by FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. It is being hailed as the strongest statement of support for an open web thus far in the campaign.

The update from campaigners Fight For the Future, is that they now need three out of five FCC commissioners to vote ‘yes’ on their proposal to re-instate real net neutrality.

They then need the full support of President Obama, and Congress, so that the proposal won’t be overturned once it reaches their gates.

So it seems, a lot of activity is going on in the US.

But what about us here in the UK? How will the ruling affect us directly?

Well… in April of this year, the EU set about stating its position regarding net neutrality. There is a draft law on net neutrality protections on the EU buffet table at present.

The new EU digital commissioner, Oettinger, has been criticized by some, for not fully understanding the concept of net neutrality, and its implications. He states, though, that he has ‘no problem’ with the draft proposals. So far, so good?

Meanwhile, European mobile phone operators seem to have got the jitters about this whole net neutrality business, and the scare tactics have begun…

The Register stated seventeen or so hours ago, that they have seen a document from the global mobile phone operators association, which reveals dirty tricks: a campaign strategy that taps into people’s concerns about child protection and identity theft, in an effort to negate legislation in support of net neutrality and the removal of roaming charges. Check out The Register for more information.  It seems that the campaign, due to launch in September, was never put into action. Interesting that they thought about it though, eh?

Here’s the rub…

Yes, the EU has stated its position in support of Net Neutrality, IN PRINCIPLE. However, that is not the end of the issue, for the UK. A bill, must be passed into law, by each EU member state, to be effective. And among the EU member states, there is one, small island, proving very obstreperous.

 You guessed it… it’s us.

The Conservatives have stated their position against net neutrality. Only in favour, of big Big BIG business then. Nothing unusual there. The next UK General Election is due in May 2015. And Chris Merriman of The Inquirer states:

"...the voting public is largely unaware that as well as deciding the attitude to the economy, housing and social care- their votes could well decide the future of the internet."

We may yet, end up with a two-tier, Haves Vs Have-Not’s internet, where those corporations with big money, are favoured by the Internet Service Providers, and the little guy; the self-employed trader, the small to medium-sized business, will be unable to provide the online service its customers have now come to expect.

For more information on the fight for net neutrality, check out our blogs, Flowers of War: Net Neutrality and the Online Florist, and The Fight for Net Neutrality here.

If you run an online business, subscribe here, to keep up with developments. 

Lily Blossom is a boutique wedding and online florist with a social conscience, based in London.

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