The FCC is being pressured by US web companies (Facebook, Google, and Twitter) to keep the Internet an open playing field for everyone involved. If Internet Service Providers are able to regulate who will be winners and losers on the web then the consumer loses out big time. The cost of information retrieval goes up for everyone. The extent to how much it hits the wallets of the consumers can not be seen immediately, but the effects will be felt across the board. More importantly, the flow of information will be halted along with it the freedom of expression. Too dramatic of a picture? Consider the following questions. What would happen if ATT did not like a webpage that was designed to filter complaints about their services and products? Would they shut it down? Or perhaps there are political ideas that big companies would like to promote like Green Energy which would also increase their bottom line because it is tied in with their sales. Would ISP make deals with certain companies that only their products and services will be viewed on the net? The answer to that is if the price is right, of course they will.
Libraries have always been advocates of free flow of ideas since the very first library. For anyone who wished to learn more, read more and do more the library became the first "do-it-yourself" institution. With the internet this bolstered this idea even more so, given that anyone could access information at any given time or place. Now that the genie is out of the bottle and most of the world's population has had a taste of the free flow of communication and ideas, there are those who want to control it to the point of choking it to death. This can not and should not happen. Anyone who uses the internet whether at home, at the library, at work or all of the above is affected. If the price for information goes up it will reflect in increased property taxes which support libraries and increased prices for online services. Not only that, this will develop a new digital divide. However, this time it won't be because of lack of computer skills or computer equipment. The evidence that this will be tied to economic status will be difficult to ignore. Quite frankly, this would be the beginning of the shutdown of a free society.
While the FCC has to come up with new rules on how the Internet will be regulated, with tomorrow as being the last day to have your voice be heard. To be honest, in Washington D.C. money normally speaks the loudest, especially when companies like Time Warner, Verizon, and ATT have lobbyist who on Capital Hill everyday. Today should be the day that you the consumer get to speak louder then money. Let FCC chairman Tom Wheeler know through tweets, through Facebook, through email that Net neutrality is important to you. Why? As a citizen and consumer you have the right to not only free speech but also reliable access to information.