Whether or not you give a shit about anything happening outside of skating, the U.S. government is currently grappling with an issue near and dear to all skateboarders: the future of the internet.

The Federal Communications Commission is considering rolling back a decision they made in 2015 that ensured the internet would remain as open and unadulterated as it’s always been, and on Thursday, December 14th, the five FCC commissioners will cast their votes on the matter. If their repeal succeeds, we’ll all have to rethink and rebudget our internet browsing habits, and for no good reason.

Currently, we all pay one monthly fee to an internet service provider (ISP) — Verizon, Comcast, AssHat Globo, etc. — to do whatever we want on the internet and to do it however much we please. This freedom is what’s known as “net neutrality” or “open internet”. But FCC Chairman Ajit Pai believes the government should stop exercising regulation that requires ISPs to bill customers at flat rates and prohibits them from curbing or charging customers more to access certain content.

Pai’s main argument is that government regulation inhibits both websites’ and ISPs’ abilities to experiment and thrive as businesses. There isn’t extensive data on this subject to analyze, but the available data suggests deregulating ISPs would only benefit ISPs, and it would do so at the cost of websites and consumers. Big surprise.

If the FCC rolls back regulations, this could make internet service contracts look more like cable TV contracts, where instead of paying one rate to access the whole internet, customers would pay a base rate for limited internet access, then select add-ons for specific content.

One example of this type of packaged internet access comes from a Portuguese telecommunications company, MEO, which sells mobile phone data plans in separate packages for accessing email, listening to music, watching videos, sending web-based messages, and even using social media. This is just one example, and currently only on mobile, but it shows how ISPs could shift their business models if the FCC passes Pai’s proposed rollback.

Skating enters into this mess because just about every piece of skate content today is published, shared, and consumed digitally. Enjoy watching old full-length skate videos on YouTube? That’s gonna cost extra. Like listening to your whack ass Spotify playlist or those fire Jenkem Mixes? Definitely gonna cost extra. Like scrolling to infinity on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook? Extra, extra, extra. Porn? 100% extra.

The idea of paying extra to throw my life away on social media is both insulting and terrifying. But paying for porn? That’s a borderline human rights violation.

In short, ISPs will squeeze more money out of websites — to maintain their fast loading speeds — and customers — to access all the content they currently do without restriction. So whether you use the internet for skate media, noodz, Instagram, or even just sending a goddamn email, you will be impacted by the FCC’s vote on December 14th.

What can you do?

Currently, the FCC’s board members are split 3-2 in favor of rolling back net neutrality regulations. Before they vote on Thursday, December 14th, we need to let them know not to mess with our internets. You can:

Write directly to the FCC.

Or, better yet,

Write to or call your Congress people or text “RESIST” to 50409, to tell them to pressure the FCC board to oppose Ajit Pai’s initiative.

Comments

  1. taluk

    December 13, 2017 6:46 pm

    people are so used to services on the internet being free, that they forget “there aint no such thing as free lunch”

    Facebook and google are enslaving and fleecing people at record highs, skaters included.

    Also jenkem could actually make profit if this goes through because they can charge appropriately for their server costs. They also have the option of not relying on advertisement money and can therefore operate completely independently.

    maybe this could be a way skaters can take control of the industry. Maybe it could encourage people to get off their computer and go skate.

    Reply
  2. timothy2 1:7

    December 13, 2017 8:23 pm

    …or just snuff out the internet, all to-get-her

    Reply
  3. That guy

    December 13, 2017 8:34 pm

    I agree with Taluk. Read https://thetrichordist.com for a musician’s perspective of so-called ‘net neutrality.’ It seems as if google wishes that the free public bandwidth used by their ever-expanding traffic between their servers remains untouched at the expense of taxpayers like you and me. ‘Net neutrality’ is a bunch of hogwash…

    Reply
  4. @fugazi32

    December 14, 2017 1:04 am

    Back in the days of Napster, we laughed at the idea of people paying for MP3s. Then (cr)Apple came along with their DRM-infested bloatware.

    The internet is the most successful form of freedom/anarchy, and it’ll be a sad day if any of this happens…

    Reply

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