The Internet is a huge part of our daily lives. As voice talent, it is also a critical part of our business. We receive scripts, negotiate contracts and deliver recordings all via the Internet.
This coming February 26, the FCC will be voting on a proposal by Chairman Tom Wheeler for "Net Neutrality" - a vote that, if voted in, would reclassify Internet Providers as Public Utilities under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. This is a hot topic because it is something that will not only affect us on many levels, but it is also something that is easily misunderstood. The term "Net Neutrality" in itself is deceptive in that it implies a free and neutral Internet. The reality is that it does just the opposite by creating several tiers for access to high speed Internet services. Net Neutrality also opens the door to future taxation, regulation, and potentially even control of content.
Is the Internet really broken?
Chairman Wheeler's proposal for "Net Neutrality" assumes that the Internet is broken and needs to be fixed. Although there are some issues that certainly need to be addressed, these can be dealt with in ways far more efficient than a complete reclassification of the Internet. History has shown that, many times, when the government attempts to "fix" something that isn't really broken, things only get worse.
As with most important issues there is more than one side: On one side are those who feel Net Neutrality will put controls and constraints on the big Internet providers like Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, and Time Warner. On the other side are those who believe that Net Neutrality is little more than a power grab by the government to take control of the Internet.
Although the proposal to be voted on implies that there will be no taxes or fees associated with Net Neutrality, the simple fact is that, if passed, the proposal will reclassify the Internet as a Public Utility - and that will fundamentally change the way in which the Internet is managed.
In 2010, the FCC enacted rules designed to maintain an Open Internet. Reclassification of the Internet would change that and could possibly open the door to future changes that might include fees and taxation. At the very least, reclassification would put the Internet in the U.S. directly under governmental control.
If you believe that governmental control of the Internet is a good thing, I would encourage you to take a look at the complete lack of online freedom that exists in China. That level of control will likely not happen immediately - or it may never happen, but the possibility for future censorship and excessive regulation will exist if Net Neutrality is approved by the FCC. A Google search for "Internet in China" will reveal what may be in store for future generations if "Net Neutrality" becomes a reality.
Whatever your personal opinion may be regarding Net Neutrality, we feel that it is important for you to know what is about to happen and for you to voice your opinion clearly and concisely.
Below you will find several links to the FCC. website that include the full proposal by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, the page of current posted comments which we encourage you to read, and the page where you can post your comments.
You can read our position on the FCC comments page - look for the post by James Alburger (or click the link below). And, should you decide to post your own comments, we encourage you to be as clear and concise with your statement as possible, providing reasons and explanation when necessary. After all, your comment will be part of the Public Record for this matter.
As an industry that requires an accessible Internet, we have an opportunity here to influence the FCC in their decision - one way or the other.
If you feel, as we do, that this is an important issue for those of us working in voiceover, I encourage you to please share this information on your Facebook page and with your networking groups.
Please make your voice heard by submitting your comment on the FCC website so it becomes part of the public record. And encourage your Congressional representatives to pressure the FCC for a NO vote on Chairman Wheeler's proposal.
Here are the links:
Share this link to send people to an on-line version of this email:
Read James Alburger's comment here:
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposal (full text)
Comments page for proceeding 14-28
Post your own comments - or click on the "Submit a Filing" link in the left-hand menu. You'll need to enter 14-28 as the "Proceeding Number." Fill out the required information on the first page, then click on "continue" at the bottom of the page.
Contact your Congressional Representatives and encourage them to pressure the FCC for a NO vote on Chairman Wheeler's proposal for Net Neutrality:
Find your House Representative here
Find your Senators here: