Net neutrality, the working writer, and you

Jane at Dear Author is blogging about Net Neutrality. It’s a topic I’m passionate about. If you check my sidebar, you’ll see I’ve added a link to Save the Internet’s blog. I’ve also added it as a cause on Facebook.

So what is net neutrality and how does it affect me? Let’s look at day in my life.

I work a lot on the internet, and so does my husband, so we pay for high-speed internet. This speeds up all the little tasks I do every day; downloading email, updating my site or blog, looking up research items, blog hopping. Because I pay for high speed access, all of this is pretty easily accomplished; the current internet model IS neutral. (If you want to read about the history of net neutrality, go read about it here.)

Email downloads quickly. I delete spam, read and reply to real mail. I update my blog and hit save; it takes minutes. I visit facebook, maybe respond to requests, maybe update my “what I’m doing”. Again, minutes. I visit my Wicked Writers Yahoo group, scan some messages, post a response. Five minutes.

I have some website updates to make; my site loads fast, saves fast, and the task is done quickly.

I visit some bogs, comment one or two places. Fast loading, fast saving.

I’m working on a new book, so I have research to do. I use lots of online resources, like, mobysaurus, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I count on being able to look up a word or a fact in minutes. I use Google and rely on the search engine to return useful results, not just links to sites that pay for the privilege.

Suppose the Internet Freedom Preservation Act 2008 (HR 5353) isn’t passed? Suppose large corporations control the flow of information, and small sites can’t ante up?

My email will download and upload slowly. Forget bloghopping; blogs won’t be on the restricted information superhighway. Yahoo groups, which many writer’s organizations and publishers use to communicate, will also be slow to load. Online resources like the ones I mentioned, plus The Viking Answer Lady, Wolf Howl, and countless others I use, will not be paying premium prices. These sites pay for webhosting and invest time and energy in sharing information and making it accessible; it’s a bit much to ask them to pay to be fast to access under the proposed tiered internet, too. How many of these freely available services will either disappear or become so difficult to use they might as well be gone?

My site won’t be much help to readers; I can’t pay the premium fee. I keep my site up to date with release dates, book covers, blurbs, excerpts, ISBNs, pre-order and purchase links, and other news. Will readers be able to access any of that? Will any of them sit there waiting long enough for my site to load, then wait again to read an excerpt?

I use the internet for business, for information, for shopping, for community. It’s an important part of my life and it’s one I don’t want to lose.

Think about all the ways you use the internet. Think about businesses that depend on it; Small Business Association stats showed a few years ago that companies with a web presence were 30% more profitable than those that weren’t online. Why should giant corporations be the only ones to profit while small businesses and startups can’t compete?

Support net neutrality. It affects all of us.

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