Net neutrality

is a tricky issue with a lot of different stakeholders. We cord cutters tend to believe in a neutral net, because that would mean that our favorite bandwidth-heavy sites, like Netflix, would be available to us at the same speeds and prices as all other websites. But, of course, net neutrality has plenty of enemies: ISPs, a minority of internet users, and plenty of politicians (most of them Republicans).

We’ve told you about the enemies of net neutrality before, and we often write about all the threats that face net neutrality. And it’s true that there are a lot of people against us in this fight. But there are also a lot of pro-neutrality organizations, people, and politicians. Let’s take a moment to get to know the people on our side of the issue.

The Business Stakeholders

Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch

Streaming Services

Streaming services have a lot to lose if the net’s neutrality is threatened. ISPs are dying to charge extra for these sites, which consume bandwidth at a much higher rate than other sites. ISPs have already throttled services like Netflix to extort cash from them, and Comcast’s data caps seem explicitly designed to tax streamers. That’s why streaming businesses are very aggressively pro-neutrality. In our interview with Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch, Mr. Lynch voiced the concerns of his industry:

“We see concerning things happening if you look at cable companies like Comcast now instituting data caps that just happen to be at a level at or below what someone would use if they’re watching TV on the internet – and at the same time launching their own streaming service that they say doesn’t count against the data cap.”

Social Media Sites

Social media sites don’t always require a lot of bandwidth, but they do make up a huge chunk of Internet traffic because of just how often their users log on. That means that they'd have a target on their backs in a non-neutral net – ISPs would love to charge extra for the sites that users use most (and that more bandwidth goes towards). As a result, social media giants like Facebook are very pro-neutrality.

Politicians and Government

Martin Falbisoner [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Net neutrality is a political issue. If it were legal, ISPs would be selling us a very non-neutral net. And, unless the FCC is there to stop them, they’ll find ways to circumvent the rules that do exist. Here are a couple of the key government players who are generally pro-neutrality.

Senator Al Franken (D-MN)

Franken is one of the most ardent pro-neutrality lawmakers in Washington. He opposed the “Internet fast lane” (which President Obama did not) and has even gone so far as to call net neutrality “the free speech issue of our time.”

President Barack Obama

Some net neutrality proponents are less than thrilled with Obama’s neutrality stances – he once supported the “Internet fast lane” – but generally, Obama has been more pro-neutrality than not. He was a force behind the FCC’s decision to reclassify broadband suppliers in order to make them subject to Title II, designed to regular monopolies.

People and Organizations

Save the Internet

It’s not just the rich and powerful who have a major stake in net neutrality. We do, too!

Cord Cutters

Hey, it’s us! As a group, we cord cutters tend to be very pro-neutrality. That’s because a non-neutral net would really hurt our ability to stream our content without having to pay big bucks or deal with slowdowns.

Internet Power Users

This group includes cord cutters, gamers, and all other users who download and/or upload a lot of data. If ISPs are allowed to slow us down or charge extra for access to bandwidth-hungry sites protocols, then we won’t be able to use the Internet for streaming, gaming, downloading large files, etc.

Lobbying Organizations

So if you’re not a senator or the president, what can you do to aid the fight for neutrality? Well, you can donate to a pro-neutrality lobbying organization. There are plenty of those around, including Save the Internet and the Internet Freedom Coalition. Make your voice heard! Even the powerful allies on this list could use some help.