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Column: Battle of Net Neutrality

Are you willing to fight for a free Internet?

Are you willing to fight for a free Internet?

Ashley McFarland, Student of Journalism

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You know how you are able to look at any website no matter what Internet connection, and no fees exist? Thank net neutrality. Regardless of what kind of website you are looking at, it gets treated the same as any other website without your Internet service provider trying to have you pay extra for it.

That being said, on Dec. 14 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal the net neutrality regulations that prohibited Internet service providers from slowing down websites or force payments for a faster Internet connection.

Here are the most essential questions when wishing to learn about this specific topic:

What is net neutrality?

Net neutrality is the most basic principle when you use the Internet that bans your Internet service providers such as U.S. Cellular, Verizon and Comcast Xfinity from restricting any websites, applications or content you wish to use, along with slowing down or speeding up Internet speeds with fees.

It essentially means that it is an Internet promoting free speech. Internet service providers should allow everyone open networks without blocking or single out any applications that run over these networks or restrict you from posting any content.

What will happen now that it is gone?

Without net neutrality, your Internet service providers will be able to decide what content and website you get to view.

These providers can now slow down or completely block off any content they disagree with, whether it be a political movement or it promotes a competitor’s content. They can also charge extra fees for the “special treatment” of a higher quality and faster Internet service.

Without net neutrality, how will anybody be able to fight against oppression? What will happen to important social movements, such as Black Lives Matter? How will the latest and greatest business or technology rise if providers block off content?

What are the arguments against net neutrality?

One argument against net neutrality is the fact that it is controlled by the government. Josh Steimle writes in his article “Am I the Only Techie Against Net Neutrality? ” that we need more competition amongst the Internet community because the government acts as a huge barrier since it designed the net neutrality rules.

Another issue people have is that their privacy is limited, too. With the government in control, people fear that they have access to all your personal information and any important files. Going along with this, people feel that their freedom is restricted. They argue that the government should have no control over the Internet because that would truly be an Internet promoting free speech.

What now?

Even though the FCC has already decided against keeping net neutrality, you can still petition it. The most common petition is from Battle for the Net. With this website, you can also see what your state representatives think about this issue, and contact them about your opinion.

Another course of action has been brought up through Congress of a bill trying to repeal the repeal of net neutrality. That being said, many people are skeptical of it because it does not fully restore net neutrality.

Now that you are educated, are you willing to fight for a free Internet? Internet service providers can limit what consumers view and put a price on content. Although the FCC voted against net neutrality on Dec. 14, public opinion favors it.  You can make a difference in this battle by signing the petition and advancing your opinion to others.

 

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Column: Battle of Net Neutrality