Verizon’s side on the war over net neutrality has a new noble cause: helping the deaf, blind, and disabled. Verizon lobbyists in Washington have begun urging members of congress to consider the help an internet fast lane would extend to disabled internet users who rely on web-based emergency technology, Mother Jones reports.
Net neutrality is the concept that guarantees all internet users and websites have access to the same speeds. Verizon and other internet service providers have long been on the opposing side, fighting for the right to offer certain sites a fast lane for a price. While it gets much more complicated than that, comedian John Oliver explains it well.
Many people with disabilities rely on web-based technology in everyday life as well as emergency situations, Verizon says. As web users grow in number and continue to take up more and more bandwidth, the technology that helps people with disabilities communicate more efficiently and call for help when they need it will become less reliable. A fast lane for this sort of tech would prevent that, Verizon says.
Notably, several groups representing disabled Americans still oppose Verizon’s plan, Mother Jones says. American Association of People with Disabilities CEO and president Mark Perriello told the publication that while Verizon’s claims are essentially true and could be genuine, they certainly came at a convenient time.
The telecom company reportedly used a similar pitch in 2009 when the FCC was creating new regulations for internet service providers. By prioritizing certain medical data over relatively less important information, then CEO Ivan Seidenberg said his company could promise top-rate service for potentially life saving technology, Mother Jones reports.
This also isn’t the only time non-profit organisations have been roped into the net neutrality debate. Recently Vice reported many companies and community groups were supposedly aligned with the anti-net neutrality movement thanks to Broadband For America, a group funded by the National Cable and Telecom Association. But many of these organisations did not realise they would be listed as supporters until after Broadband for America began publicly touting them as members of its coalition. Some of them then demanded their names be removed.
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