Things sure have changed in the last few months. And as I've stated before, I'm not usually one to speak about politics on the blog - I just don't want the headache that comes with it. But folks, I've got to talk about this thing called Net Neutrality.
Net Neutrality is nothing new. In fact, we already had some of the provisions of net neutrality prior to the law being established in 2015. However, the law made it 100% equal across the board on what information you could access and basically, unless you are subscribing to premium content (Amazon Prime, Wix, Education.com) through a service-based company, the internet was accessible to anyone who paid to have it. Paid to have the internet. Keep that in mind, because I'm about to blow your skirt up!
As a homeschool family, we use the internet daily - for about three to five hours in-class and then for streaming television or games/social media afterward. We are a techie family - don't judge us, please. Regardless, we know we use data. We have a high-speed broadband package and pay $100 a month JUST FOR THE INTERNET. Why? Because we use it and we value it and it is very much worth that money. Could I use the money for something else? Sure. But would that something else provide my children with access to educational website, allow us to see our favorite shows together as a family and at a time that is convenient for us? Would that something else give my husband the opportunity to play his music and to share it on YouTube? Better yet... Would that something else allow me, and you, the opportunity to peruse the hundreds of blogs out there on homeschooling that provides us with tons of tips, tricks, and support.
Let's not forget the affiliate bloggers who use their skills and abilities to bring in a little supplemental income for their families.
No. That $100 is well worth every penny. But if the cost went up, I do not think we would be able to pay it. Luckily, our ISP has several smaller packages should we need to downgrade. But, that downgrade is only the tip of the iceberg.
Net neutrality provides a "common ground". With me in Arkansas, and you where ever you may be, can access the same webpage, view the same content, and utlize the sites functions all with our very own ISP subscription. Right? Yes.
Enter the repeal. Last week, the FCC voted 3 to 2 to repeal the act that allowed the very act mentioned above to occur. What does this mean?
MYTH: Network operators are protecting consumers.
FACT: Like any monopoly or oligopoly, network operators want to maximize their profits and minimize competition at the consumer's expense. Network providers opposed to Net Neutrality such as AT&T, BellSouth, Comcast, Sprint, Time Warner, and Verizon have already shown they cannot be trusted to self-regulate in the interest of consumers in either content or cost.
MYTH: Net Neutrality will stifle innovation on the Internet.
FACT: Today's vibrant Internet economy resulted from Net Neutrality protection during the Internet's infancy. Net Neutrality spurred innovation and commerce by preventing large companies from leveraging market power to stifle competition from smaller, dynamic web innovators.
These are just two of the several items they discussed on their site. You can view the page by clicking here.
Where does this leave homeschoolers?
In a terrible state if this thing passes. However, this is not the first time something like this has occurred. Prior, repeals have been attempted and were shot down. However, this time, the repeal made it passed the FCC. This will cause a huge stink in the homeschool culture and for this, we need to act.
Basically, the act states that no big company can come in and charge you a premium to access content online. For instance, you like using Google. Your ISP has stock in Yahoo. They put Yahoo as their preferred (standard) browser. You can still use Google, but you are going to have to pay a monthly fee to your ISP to use it.
Are you a blogger? Use analytics to keep up with your stats? If the domain you own is not offered by the ISP, you will have to pay a monthly fee to access it - on top of the fee to own the domain!
Do you use Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or Vudu? If your ISP doesn't carry streaming service after the repeal, you'll have to pay a monthly fee to access the service - on top of the subscription fee to the company themselves.
What's the ONE variable in these - and many more - instances?
Big Corporations with Stock in ISP's, and other platforms that stand to gain more if they repeal the safety net of neutrality.
This can have dire effects on homeschool families, public schools and libraries, community and University colleges, medical offices, emergency services, utility and water works departments, the judicial system (at all levels)...
Call your congressmen and women. Tell them to vote no on the repeal. Keep the internet neutral and accessible to all. Blog about it. Vlog about it. Read about it. Make a lesson out of it. Do what you have to in order to get your voice heard.
Don't let the Internet go without a fight.