Net neutrality is the principle that Internet providers should not control what we see or do online. More specifically, that providers should keep internet speeds the same for all sites, no matter the size or type. The rules prohibit Internet providers from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—”fast lanes” for sites that pay, and slow lanes for everyone else. In 2015, startups, Internet freedom groups, and 3.7 million commenters won strong net neutrality rules from the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC).
Currently, the FCC is reviewing those rules, and has signalled that under a conservative administration, they are open to granting cable companies and other ISPs the ability to control speeds and limit access for certain type of sites.
Why does Net Neutrality matter?
It’s simple: if internet providers win the power to slow sites down, they can bully any site into paying millions to escape the “slow lane.” This would amount to a tax on every sector of the American economy. Every site you pay for now would cost more, since they’d all have to pay big cable. Worse, it would extinguish the startups and independent voices who can’t afford to pay. If we lose net neutrality, the Internet will never be the same.
Why does it matter to the adult entertainment industry and our customers?
Cable providers could be able to limit or slow speeds of adult sites, either through the levy of fees or outright discrimination due to content. Our community already often faces scrutiny and discrimination from online platforms — think Facebook, Google Adwords or Tumblr — due to who we are and what we make. We would be an early and likely target.
Imagine going to your favorite site and having it load at a half-the-speed it currently does. Or if you own a site, or start a new site, having it load much slower than a larger competitor’s site. Net Neutrality not only gives ISPs the ability to discriminate against us, it places major constraints on innovations, as start-ups are placed at a competitive disadvantage.
What is being done?
People are speaking out at every level. July 12th saw massive online and in-person protests to raise awareness about the issue. So many individuals and companies, small to large, depend on the Internet for their livelihood, and there is a broad coalition supporting net neutrality. From Bernie Sanders to Netflix, from YouTube stars to adult film performers and producers, people across the world are fighting to keep our free and open access to the internet.
In the adult film community, companies like Kink.com, PornHub, xHamster, and many others have spoken out to protect Net Neutrality. At the Free Speech Coalition, we’ve been rallying our members and joining much larger organizations in the fight.
What can we do?
To get involved in the fight, go to https://www.battleforthenet.com/ to find out about how to get involved. You can call your congressperson, write a letter, spread the word to your network, and even put a pop up on your website to raise awareness. We must stay vigilant to ensure that the protections in place to ensure free and open access to the Internet are upheld.