Although there’s been a lot of talk about Net Neutrality lately, it could really be argued that there hasn’t been nearly enough talk about it. Most of the people I’ve asked about it admitted they felt like they don’t know enough. And this includes people who are deeply entrenched in the nonprofit technology world. So, I thought a quick overview of “Net Neutrality” and what it means to nonprofits could be beneficial.
First let’s define the term. FreePress.net offers a very clear description of it as:
Net Neutrality means that companies like AT&T and Verizon
can’t block, edit or discriminate against the information we
send and receive over the Internet, like the sites we visit or
the applications we use. It requires these providers to treat
all lawful content the same.
…(it) has nothing to do with what we say to each
other. It doesn’t — and shouldn’t — apply to the content
of websites or email messages, or to applications like
Spotify or Skype. It just ensures that the companies carrying
our Internet traffic can’t step in and interfere with our
Now, let’s consider what could happen if Net Neutrality is eliminated:
- Internet service providers will have the ability to determine what is available online
- The Internet will look more like pay-TV models; subscribers pay the provider and advertisers pay for placement based on audience
- Sites and Applications that pay the most for traffic will succeed
- Here’s another example from FreePress.net:
Can you imagine AT&T redirecting you
away from your favorite pizza shop and forcing you to order
Now think about this relative to your nonprofit for a moment: Do you think your organization would have the money to spend on a commercial with reach to a broad audience? Without Net Neutrality, you’d need to budget and spend money to ensure your site can reach the people who are searching for it today. Could your nonprofit compete with Domino’s in spending? Or could it compete in spending with “the Domino’s” of your segment, for that matter?
This is serious. The Internet, with Net Neutrality protections provides incredible information-sharing opportunities from which we’ve all benefited and which has gone a long way to helping a lot of good get done in the nonprofit sector.
Please share this information with your colleagues and get involved to fight to save Net Neutrality.
Here are some additional resources:
- A variety of ways to take action and “Save the Internet”
- Get educated and share: Primer on Net Neutrality
- Register and Rally May 15 in DC
Have a story to share with us? We’d love to hear from you.