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Viewpoint: The Future of Net Neutrality

Allison Steele, Student Government Reporter

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When people think of the internet, they think of a place where people are able to voice their opinions. A place people are free to use any website they would like without being afraid of a telecom interfering with their data. This entire picture could be in danger if the government eradicates Net Neutrality.

Net Neutrality makes the internet free for everyone to use. Aclu.org says it acts as a barrier, and according to commoncause.org, it basically prohibits networks from tampering with any type of data. Net Neutrality makes it so that internet providers offer all types of web traffic equally. According to SaveTheInternet.com, “Net Neutrality is the basic principle that prohibits internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from speeding up, slowing down or blocking any content, applications, or websites you want to use.” Since Net Neutrality has been put into place, everyone has equal access to all websites.

Net Neutrality also keeps the free market open and running by protecting people with small businesses. SaveTheInternet.com goes more into detail: “Net Neutrality is crucial for small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs, who rely on the open internet to launch their businesses, create markets, advertise their products and services, and reach customers. We need the open internet to foster job growth, competition and innovation.”

Not only does it help small businesses, it helps perpetuate freedom of speech. “An ISP could slow down its competitors’ content or block political opinions it disagreed with. ISPs could charge extra fees to the few content companies that could afford to pay for preferential treatment — relegating everyone else to a slower tier of service” (SaveTheInternet.com). The internet is another place to say what you want; the destruction of Net Neutrality threatens this right.

Net Neutrality stops Telecommunications such as AT&T,  Comcast, Cox, CenturyLink, Charter and Verizon from analyzing or manipulating data. These manipulations means the telecom companies can interfere with our data by slowing down or even blocking select traffic and communications. Those telecoms will be able to that if Net Neutrality is removed.

The reason for all these changes is because President Trump’s FCC (Federal Communications Commission) wants to get rid of Net Neutrality. The main person pushing this is Trump’s new head of the Federal Communications, Ajit Pai. SaveTheInternet.com goes more into detail about Pai’s goal: “Chairman Pai wants to replace the agency’s strong rules with ‘voluntary’ conditions that no ISP would ever comply with.” The FCC are taking the vote to decide if they will keep Net Neutrality on Dec. 14.

My stance on this topic is that everybody uses the internet and it’s not an area of the public for telecoms to control what you do or see. Even the people who are making this decision will be affected by it; everyone uses the internet. The point of the internet is not for someone to choose what you see, it’s a place for people to practice freedom of
speech and visit any site they want without interference. It threatens businesses and people’s rights.

Dissolving Net Neutrality is an invasion of privacy. It’s taking away something that is made for all and making it a hierarchy for certain internet providers to dictate what they want their customers to see.

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Viewpoint: The Future of Net Neutrality