Our view: Net neutrality repeal endangers all internet users

For anyone who uses the Internet, you’re probably well aware what net neutrality is and what is happening with it. For those who don’t, net neutrality is the principle that internet providers must treat all data the same. This means that internet providers are unable to block, charge money or slow down the use of certain websites. Under this principle, all internet pages are equal and you surf at the same speed for a given website at the price of your monthly bill.

The problem comes in with the Federal Communications Commission, specifically their Republican chairman Ajit Pai. On Dec. 14, 2017 the FCC approved Pai’s plan to repeal net neutrality and the first step was taken to remove this essential part of our society that many of us take for granted. At best, internet users could expect to see microtransactions within your internet bill and having to pay extra for faster streaming on Netflix, YouTube and other companies. At worst, companies would be free to make their competitors websites sluggish. AT&T as an internet provider could slow down Verizon’s website or block any material that they deem unfit for their streaming services, which shouldn’t be a thing.

The Collegiate sees net neutrality as a necessity in an ever-changing and -evolving technological world. The internet is a gateway in today’s world including knowledge, culture, and leisure. Many households have done everything in their power to maximize their internet speed through purchases of strong routers and modems to purchasing stronger bandwidth.

Net neutrality makes the internet a fair space with free speech and open networks to all websites. Most consumers would benefit from net neutrality, unless they are someone who seldom uses the internet, but even so, why ruin a good thing for the rest of us? Most college students are dependant on the internet for coursework as well as social interaction. Free speech is allowed, and people can access whatever they choose at the same speed for everything. Seems like a pretty good deal, right?

This all brings about the question: Who serves to benefit from a repeal in net neutrality? The ones who have the most to gain are internet service providers. These companies like Comcast, Charter and AT&T could now be the proprietors of new income through paid prioritization. As such dominant companies in the nation today, they have the ability to take away or at the very least influence what customers are exposed to which impedes on our right as consumers. Why should a company control what we see on the Internet?

With net neutrality repealed, these provider services could offer higher speeds to organizations and companies that paid them more. Another beneficiary would be the people who are paying for this prioritization. This would include large corporations that have the funds to do so such as Netflix or Google.

So, who will be the losers? The most prevalent one would be the smaller companies and startups. These companies wouldn’t have the funds available to pay for higher speeds. The premiums could push out the small guys and begin to form monopolies in the larger companies and disallow independent enterprise to take shape, a basic foundation of the American dream.

With multiple lawsuits on the way against the FCC, there will be a long and tedious process in the fight to restore the Internet to the state it was in prior to this set of laws. For anyone looking to help in the fight against net neutrality and its repeal, contact your local legislation in hopes that Congress will use their power to reverse the vote. We want to keep our freedom by keeping net neutrality alive and well.

We like our internet the way it is now, do you feel the same? Let us know at [email protected]

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