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No One Gets Excited About Net Neutrality: What If We Made It More Sexy?

A Silicon Valley congresswoman asks Reddit to help re-brand the idea of a free and open Internet to something that’s a little more appealing.

No One Gets Excited About Net Neutrality: What If We Made It More Sexy?
[Photo: Flickr user FreePress]

Of all the things to name a pressing political and economic issue, “net neutrality” sounds like the chapter you skip in a calculus textbook. Just the sound of it connotes something neutered, or desiccated, or slightly moist, or beige, or all of the above.

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Re-branding “net neutrality” closer to its more urgent meaning–the idea of a free and open Internet–has now become a priority for congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA), who has taken to Reddit to ask for suggestions until September 8.

As Eshoo explains in her Reddit post, the Federal Communications Commission proposed new rules for the flow of online information in May, rules that could split the net into a hierarchy of paid content that gets delivered to your browser faster against slower, free ideas. Supporters of “net neutrality” have railed against the proposed FCC changes, citing an “Internet fast lane” as a piece of online architecture that could destroy much of what is meritocratic and inclusive on our screens. Internet service providers, alternately, would like to be able to charge for various speeds.

These changes could redefine how many of us access basic information and opportunity. And that’s precisely why, Eshoo argues, “net neutrality” needs more people talking about it. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, only 0.8% of nearly 3,000 TV news programs had even addressed the issue by mid-May. Perhaps it’s because the name could use a real cosmetic lift.

Whoever gets upvoted the most on Eshoo’s post wins the re-branding contest. Right now the scores are sorted randomly in “contest mode,” so there’s no way to see who the top contenders are. To vote or suggest new names yourself, click here.

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About the author

Sydney Brownstone is a Seattle-based former staff writer at Co.Exist. She lives in a Brooklyn apartment with windows that don’t quite open, and covers environment, health, and data

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