As arts managers, we should all be very concerned about net neutrality, the series of FCC regulations that limit internet service providers, or ISPs (think Time Warner, Cox, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, etc.) from restricting, or even blocking, content for pretty much any reason they see fit.
Net neutrality managed to dodge a bullet in 2015 but the new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chair, Ajit Varadaraj Pai, would like to gut those rules and allow ISPs to charge users tiered fees for so-called “fast lane” traffic; those who pay get their content delivered at speeds you’re currently accustomed to experiencing. Those who don’t, see their sites slow to a crawl at a newly defined “baseline level of service.”
The reason why net neutrality matters are if these changes go into effect, arts organizations can expect to see their website pages load slower, which means fewer conversions, fewer tickets sold, and lower revenue.
Of course, you can assume everything will be fine and ISPs can be trusted to maintain net neutrality all on their own. You could also try to double your department’s budget by betting it all* at the nearest casino.
Why risk gambling either?
Fortunately, there’s something you can do by way of sending feedback to the FCC letting them know that arts organizations, nonprofit and for profit alike, would be placed at risk if net neutrality laws are changed or the FCC reclassifies ISPs to a designation with far less regulatory oversight. This was a remarkably effective tactic in 2015 and if nothing else, the current political climate has demonstrated that participation matters.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver recently launched a service to make the feedback process much easier for you in the form of a simple URL: gofccyourself.com.
Once there, you need to select the “+ Express” link located toward the top, right hand side of the screen. From there, you can complete the form and include your message. Please feel free to use the following template as-is or edit as desired.
I’m writing to urge the FCC to scrap its plan to allow Internet Service Providers to charge for preferential treatment. These rules would destroy net neutrality. I urge the commission to throw out any such plans and instead reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service. I also urge the commission not to reclassify it under Title I of the Communications Act of 1934. This is the only way to maintain real net neutrality.Submit Your Feedback To The FCC
Learn more about the issue via Oliver’s segment from 5/7/2017
*Seriously, don’t do that.
Postscript: in case you think ISPs don’t see this recent effort as their best bet in years to destroy net neutrality, take the time to read this article at zdnet.com by Zack Whittaker about efforts from anti-net neutrality groups to crash the FCC’s feedback form. h/t Anthony Detrano; a genuine arts hacker and arts administrator extraordinaire!