Today, September 10, is the great Internet Slowdown — a protest over the Federal Communications Commission and the United States government’s handling of net neutrality. According to Google, net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.

The FCC has supported a fast lane of internet connectivity for companies that pay for it. For a group charged by publicly-elected officials to be the ones pushing for the segregation and subsequent discrimination of the internet is quite literally anti-American. More info can be found in the Communications Act of 1934 or from the FCC website.

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Screenshot from http://transition.fcc.gov/omd/history/

Locally, anything that attacks the ability of Marquette and other regional citizens from using the internet fairly is an attack at our way of life. Sprinkled across God’s Country, Yoopers are using technology as a way to compete and transact, not only across the Great Lakes region, but world wide. Businesses like Getz’s and Wattsson & Wattsson are using online sales to reach new clients, while people who choose to make T-shirts or write articles can do so through the help of the internet.

Northern Michigan University’s WiMax program was so cutting edge just a few short years ago, President Barack Obama came to NMU to praise the school’s groundbreaking high-speed internet access. I personally was there as a cameraman for the NMU student newspaper The North Wind and was able to hear him say this:

After minutes of comparing the infrastructural changes of highways, interstates and telegraphs to support equal broadband access, the president continued to talk about the basic functions highspeed internet to further public education and emergency services.


“This isn’t just about faster internet… it’s about connecting every quarter of America to the digital age. It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers can monitor weather around the state and market it across the globe. It’s about an entrepreneur on main street with a great idea she hopes to sell to the big city. It’s about every young person who no longer has to leave his hometown because opportunity is right there at his or her fingers,” Obama said.

Best of luck to all of those people who are going to do that with a considerably lower speed of internet.

However, the scariest sentences were the last two of that clip:

“By selling private companies the rights to these air waves, we won’t just encourage private investment to expand wireless access. We’re actually going to bring in revenues that will lower our deficit.”

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To be fair to President Obama, this was a part of his 2010 National Broadband Plan. To be fair to everyone else, this is the asinine plan that allows the FCC to think they can regulate an infrastructural change.

However, the internet has struck back with one of its strongest qualities: humor. Whether it be CollegeHumor or Last Week Tonight, both helped crashed the FCC servers as internet posters championed net neutrality. Unfortunately, both videos did a great job of pointing out that former lobbyists for internet service providers that want the two-speed system are currently in charge of the FCC.

This broken system is why huge groups like Netflix, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), WordPress and hundreds of smaller sites like Marquette Social Scene have found common ground to support net neutrality.

For more information on the online protests occurring today, visit HERE.

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