Net Neutrality in the U.S.A.

Today, many companies are participating in the Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality. It's likely that you've already come across a few posts about this, and done a bit of research about what Net Neutrality is. Some people, particularly in the technology industries have already firmed up their opinions about the topic and some people aren't quite sure how it might affect them.

If you aren't familiar with the concept of Net Neutrality, I recommend watching CGP Grey's reasonably objective video on the topic. He does a much better job of explaining the concept than I think I can.

Net Neutrality is the idea that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are required to act as impartial providers of data and aren't allowed to interfere with your access to any content available on the world wide web, or put restrictions on the way that you're allowed to access it. Some ways that this can come about is by throttling access to specific content, blocking access entirely, or modifying content before it makes its way to you, sometimes requiring users to pay more money or purchase specific products to release these restrictions.

This issue strikes pretty close to home for me, and I can speak for North Studio when I say that the preservation of Net Neutrality is critical to the technological, civil, and educational advancement of the human race.

That's a pretty big assertion to make. I don't make it lightly. How many times have you looked up a video to fix something on your car or gotten the sports scores on your phone? Have you looked up an article to finish writing a research paper or played a game online? Have you been on a video call or coordinated with friends about a cause you're passionate about? This affects you.

I've been building websites for almost twenty years now. I've built websites for clients over every spectrum of project complexity and most sectors of industry. Like most web developers, I am almost entirely "self taught". I read code and articles and theories that have been posted online. I chat with developers, project managers, and company owners around the world. I've had the opportunity to build a career on the shoulders of hundreds of insanely smart people because of the resources that I've had available to me online. The internet has provided an avenue for the free exchange of ideas that is unparalleled in history and I have been fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of it. Every single industry has been similarly transformed by this medium through the global availability of talent and resources and massive improvements in the efficiency of communication. New generations are inspired to achieve the impossible every day by artistic content and scientific accomplishment made readily available to them.

We are watching something truly amazing. We are witness to the most rapid advancements in arts, sciences, technology, and civil rights in human history. This is the largest and most capable brain trust ever conceived. This is the printing press of our generation and it is a hugely powerful thing.

North Studio is a Canadian company. We are thankful to live and work in a country that supports Net Neutrality. The rules being proposed will affect the United States. Even with Net Neutrality regulations strongly supported in Canada, this still deeply affects us. Not only are many of our clients American companies, we rely on the resources, communication, and friendship of our American colleagues every day. Our customers have ideas, products, and services that deserve to reach the widest audiences possible without the interference or extortion of outside organizations. It would be a tragedy to see the internet and all of its beautiful, chaotic content filtered through the lens of partial ISPs.

If you're in Canada, contact your elected representatives and thank them for their continued support of Net Neutrality. Feel free to contact the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and leave a comment for continued support.

If you're in the States, you can figure out who your Congressional Representatives are and tell them that as a constituent, you expect them to oppose FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to end Net Neutrality, and leave a comment with the Federal Communications Commission.

Consider supporting organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Fight for the Future.

If you're reading this blog post on the web, then the internet has almost certainly become a an integral tool in your every day life. The threat against Net Neutrality affects the way that we, as consumers and businesses, interact with the world. It is a worthy cause to support and I hope that you will join us in showing the U.S. Congress that an open and free internet is the most beneficial solution for the world and for their constituents.

Thank you.