In 2015, the FCC instituted net neutrality rules classifying the internet as a public utility. This prevented internet service providers (ISPs) from prioritizing certain websites over others and encouraged a free and open internet where all businesses and individuals could thrive.
Now, under Trump-appointed FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a vote to slash net neutrality protections is looming. Pai was nominated for a second five-year term on October 2 despite widespread outcry over his agenda. Petitions with tens of thousands of signatures were powerless to prevent this outcome. With Pai in charge, it’s only a matter of time before net neutrality is dismantled.
What does an internet without net neutrality look like?
Imagine this: you go online, but you can only see a small set of pre-approved websites backed by a single corporate ISP. You want to stream a movie, but you can’t afford the bandwidth. You look for the movie on another service, but you can’t legally access it because your ISP bans you. Free sites now have an access charge. Other sites are blocked and vanish from search results. You can’t find your friend’s blog or contact the small business down the street. Your ISP collects your data and monitors your actions online, controlling everything you see and how you see it – and you can’t do a thing about it.
Without net neutrality, the internet no longer belongs to you. It belongs to Them.
This is the world we’re about to see. Under Pai, the FCC will almost certainly pursue a course of deregulation that will allow ISPs to throttle websites who can’t pay their ransom. From there, it’s a short step to censorship and the death of online interaction, art, and innovation.
The non-response to outcry against Pai this summer shows that we can’t rely on traditional means to stop the net neutrality rollback. We need a different solution. That’s where Skycoin comes in.
Skycoin technology creates an alternative internet. It provides a peer-to-peer network that circumvents ISPs to deliver control back to the user. You can share content freely without throttling, blocking, or censorship. It’s fast, private, and encrypted to be maximally secure. Plus, decisions on the Skycoin network are controlled by community consensus, not by corporations looking for a profit.
Peer-to-peer technology doesn’t require you to give up your identity and data to access content. Skycoin’s network, Skywire, provides a blockchain-based decentralized network where you can browse securely and privately. With Skywire, you own your data and control your own experience. The Skywire “miner” is the backbone of this new internet. This miner lets users earn Skycoins by deploying network nodes, forwarding network traffic, or contributing resources. The Skycoin system incentivizes a free and community-based model whereby users take responsibility for the network’s growth and viability. Instead of giving up control to exploitative corporate ISPs, users create their own experience. Skywire is self-sustaining and independent.
The advantages of a free and open internet are clear. With equal access and net-neutral protections in place, users can find the content they want without fear of blocking, surveillance, or legal threats. Smaller businesses can innovate without being smothered. The public benefits from increased transparency on topics ranging from policy to health. Art becomes accessible to a broader demographic, and diverse perspectives can be heard. Users can choose and create their own content, rather than consuming a limited set of corporate products.
Free and open internet is under attack now more than ever. If the FCC won’t back net neutrality legislation this year, it’s up to us to regain control and make sure the internet remains a public resource equally available to everyone.
The Skywire network proves that we don’t need to rely on ISPs to explore the internet. Skywire’s protocol and custom-built hardware provides a global, decentralized network that’s fair and user-centric. With this network, the Skywire community can defeat the FCC’s planned rollback of net neutrality and bring the internet back to you and other users where it belongs. We can create a free and open internet for all.
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