John Oliver Calls Gamers To Action Over Threat To Net Neutrality
This week’s episode of Last Week Tonight focused for the second time in the show’s history on a subject that has significant import for gamers – net neutrality.
For those who haven’t yet wrapped their heads around the idea of net neutrality, it’s the concept that internet service providers (ISPs) should allow access to all content on the internet regardless of the source, and without blocking or offering better connection speeds or other favoritism to specific websites, applications, or online products. Without net neutrality, an internet service provider could limit the bandwidth available to certain services if it so chose.
The FCC recently announced plans to reverse existing net neutrality rules, which has the potential to affect your future internet usage. Supporters of this reversal (including the recently appointed Chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai) believe that current regulation creates uncertainty in the market and limits growth. Those who support existing net neutrality rules have deep concerns about the potential for abuse from ISPs, who could conceivably charge large fees to selected businesses or non-profits for accessing broadband arteries.
The FCC has opened up the option for public comment on the proposed changes, but finding and accessing the comment page is something of a chore. In response, John Oliver and team have created a website redirect that connects directly to the page where you can offer up your opinions. The redirect site, amusingly titled gofccyourself.com, takes you to an FCC page, and from there you can click on a hyperlink shown as “+ express” to offer up your opinion. In the segment, Oliver suggests strongly that heavy internet users, like gamers, Instagram enthusiasts, or YouTube viewers, all have a stake in maintaining a strong stance on net neutrality.
If you’d like to watch John Oliver’s full segment on the current push back against net neutrality, you can check it out below.
While many have framed the conversation about net neutrality along political lines, the issue likely takes on a different meaning for gamers who spend a large chunk of their leisure time using internet services for playing games, downloading games and patches, and interacting with others on the internet. While everyone is free to make up their own mind on the subject, I’m suspicious of anyone who suggests that the decision simply won’t affect us. Opponents of net neutrality often cite that nothing would change if regulation was lifted, and that ISPs would voluntarily maintain a free and open internet. That sentiment flies in the face of conventional business wisdom, which suggests that if a decision leads to greater profit, and it’s not illegal to make that decision, many businesses will opt for that path, rather than voluntarily acting for the public good.