In this blog post, we’ll be talking to William Byatt– a Miami Tech Community Member and LAB Member. We’ll be learning why Net Neutrality is important and what you can do to defend it. Take it away, William!
Tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from, what field you work in..
My name is William Byatt, I’m the head of operations and architecture at Bar None Systems. We’re a software development and management consultancy focused on data-heavy problems. So the idea for us is that we go to clients that either have or want to have a lot of data and help them build tools that will analyze the data and present it to their stakeholders in ways that generate actionable insights.
For people who don’t know, why is net neutrality important? Why should people care?
It’s at its heart a question of equality. Right now there are rules in place, rules we call “net neutrality,” that force ISP’s to treat all data equally. This makes it so that they’re not allowed to slow down traffic from certain websites, or privilege data from their own websites. Ending net neutrality means allowing ISP’s to manipulate who gets what traffic when. So when Comcast has their own video streaming service, they’re going to want to either slow down Netflix or make you pay more for it.
An end to net neutrality will particularly affect small businesses and startups, because we’re the ones who are already working hardest to try to break into sometimes crowded spaces and we have the least resources to expend on internet premiums. It’s particularly scary if you either do business in or need to use services that may compete with an ISP–so if you’re an advertiser, a content provider, a telecom, almost any tech company, or if you would like to work with local providers in those spaces–all of a sudden you have more premiums attached to your overhead that go to the ISP.
You hosted an informational workshop on Tuesday- can you tell us more about it?
On Tuesday evening we hosted an event to provide any local small businesses with information about how they can get involved. We can still save net neutrality, but it means making phone calls to our legislators. There’s actually a bill on the floor of Congress right now that would protect net neutrality, but we need to urge our lawmakers to support it. The event shed light on why we need to defend net neutrality, and how exactly to go about doing it.
What are some easy things people can do to defend net neutrality?
The number one thing at this point is to call your legislators and tell them that you support net neutrality. You can find all the relevant contact information at http://battleforthenet.miami. Call all of the legislators, have your friends and family call, have your kids call. If we can make these legislator’s phones ring non-stop, then we can win and protect the free and open internet.