Some of the biggest tech companies, like Facebook and Google, are participating in the Net Neutrality Day of Action, a protest of the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to roll back Obama-era rules that increased government oversight and required online service providers to treat all internet traffic the same.
But in May, the Republican-led FCC voted to start changing net neutrality rules.
Information online flows over pipes to your computer, Wired editor-in-chief and CBS News contributor Nicholas Thompson explained. Net neutrality prevents internet service providers including Comcast, Time Warner Cable or Verizon to treat websites using those pipes differently.
“So the companies that own the pipes can’t say, ‘you know what? We don’t want that website to be fast. We want that one to be slow. And we don’t like what that one is saying, so we’re going to stop it all together. And maybe you’d like a tiered plan so you can get Wikipedia, right?’ So net neutrality is a very important principal for the people on the internet,” Thompson said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.”
The core of net neutrality is that “the internet has been a place of openness,” Thompson said.
“It’s a place where you can start a company, where you can do what you want, and you can be reasonably certain that if you put a website on the internet, people will be able to get to it. But if we don’t have net neutrality, and you start a company that is opposed to something that Comcast is running and is a competitor to something that Time Warner Cable has, they can shut you down. So it’s not just competition,” Thompson said. “It’s the entire principle of the internet. That’s why people are so riled up about this.”
Thompson said the internet providers’ posture is “if we make more money, we’ll invest more heavily in [the pipes], and you’ll get faster speeds.” For the FCC, Thompson said one reason the agency wants to roll back the net neutrality rules is because “they’re very close to the telecom companies.”
“They want to do what’s right for the telecom companies. They will argue that if you give the telecom companies more freedom to control their pipes, they’ll innovate more,” Thompson said. “What everybody else is saying is, no, every time you relax and let telecom companies do what they want, they stifle innovation. It’s not good for everyone.”
“CBS This Morning” reached out to the FCC about the Net Neutrality Day of Action, but they did not have a comment.