Internet Strikes Back: The Net Neutrality ‘Day of Action’ Protest

Net Neutrality is one of the biggest issues today when it comes to internet access and internet service providers (ISP).

Today is the “Day Of Action” and tech companies will be out in full force for their support of Net Neutrality.

What Is Net Neutrality?

All things being equal, the data and internet that you use should be treated equally. The argument for Net Neutrality is that regulations should be put in place so that your ISP (Vodafone, MTN etc) should not throttle or interfere with traffic on certain websites that don’t pay for the privilege of being given preferential treatment. The issue is that, no one wants a situation where ISPs are creating “internet fast lanes.”

For example, if MTN decided to roll out a video streaming service, they might decide to throttle the speed or slow down your YouTube viewing experience to get you to use their video service instead. Or they could just charge you more money for data streaming on Youtube. If Net Neutrality regulations aren’t in place, corporations and telcos like MTN and Vodafone could legally do that.

FCC Commissioner, Ajit Pai | Image Credit: LA Times

In the USA, The new commissioner, Ajit Pai of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to move forward with new rules to scrap the existing rules which would have enforced Net Neutrality rules. Mr Pai is a former lawyer for the telecom provider, Verizon. His motives for scrapping Net Neutrality regulations are therefore a bit suspect.

What is the “Day of Action”?

The Day of Action is a protest that anyone/company can participate in. Today (Wednesday, July 12), some powerful companies in tech will show support for net neutrality. Each company will in their own way display a sign of protest in favor of repealing the FCC’s net neutrality rules.

Companies Participating In The Day Of Action Protest

Some Companies Participating in the Day of Action include Microsoft and Apple | Image Credit: Tomorrow Edition

A number of big companies are said to be participating in the protest in their own special way. Sites like YouTube, Apple, Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, Microsoft and Facebook have pledged to support Net Neutrality and will be partaking in the protest.

If porn sites like YouPorn and Pornhub will also be participating in this protest. If porn sites are participating in this Net Neutrality protest, then you know it’s a big deal.

So What Happens On The Day Of The Protest?

Honestly, no one knows. We’ll have to wait and see. In the past, companies have used pop-ups to show information and spread the word about Net Neutrality. Some sites have artificially slowed down their traffic to show the effect of having users’ data speed throttled by ISPs.

Wikipedia went dark in previous protests to show support for Net Neutrality.

How Does This Affect Ghana?

In Ghana, the National Communications Authority (NCA) is somewhat our version of the FCC. In recent news, ISPs like MTN have petitioned the NCA to regular Over the Top Network (OTTN) services like Skype and WhatsApp because it’s affecting their business.

It could only be a matter of time when more Ghanaian users become data heavy which might prompt companies like Vodafone and MTN to try to take advantage and create “internet fast lanes” with their service.

So tomorrow, if your favorite website is acting weird or slow, it could be a result of the protest. But don’t think that this is just a US thing. Net Neutrality affects all of us and it actually hits closer to home than you think.

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