Goodbye Net Neutrality

It’s the end of times, kiss net neutrality goodbye! Riddle me this. Can the internet truly be the internet if someone is preventing you from watching someone stream an entire USC fight by pretending to play the game?

In recent news, the FCC and its chairman Ajit Pai announced that they have voted to repeal Obama Era net neutrality rules. Now if you’re anything like me, you may have heard all this buzz about how taking away net neutrality is a terrible thing, but may not necessarily know what that means.

What is Net Neutrality?

To put it simply net neutrality basically gives people the right to freely access information on the internet without any restrictions.

Think phone lines.

The telephone company can’t dictate who or when you can call, much the same way your ISP can’t dictate what content you interact with.

So for example, say a person like Ajit Pai wants to look up some excellent dog photography with adorable captions. Right now he can do that freely, but let’s say that net neutrality is gone – all of a sudden – ISP companies like AT&T or Spectrum can start throttling or block his connection speed to the site because it’s not a part of their network.

Why is Net Neutrality so important?

Net neutrality is important not only to young trolls but it is vital to businesses and organizations as well. As detailed by The Free Press, businesses of all sizes, both profit and essentially non-profit are heavily reliant on an open and free internet.

Small businesses need it in order expand and non-profits need it because they rely on awareness of their programs.  A perfect example would be this website you’re reading this article on, As a small business, how can we expect to grow or even start our market if the internet that we advertise, promote, and produce content on is suddenly regulated by the internet providers who can prevent readers from accessing our website?

If anything else, non-profit organizations who generally do good work in the world by helping those in dire need or bring awareness to controversial topics are suddenly unable to. That would potentially affect the lives of millions. If this doesn’t scare you by now then I don’t know what will.

This isn’t to say we won’t be able to access our Instagram stories or Twitter feeds, so the FCC’s mocking video was correct in that sense. This is because the true danger lies in the freedom that politicians and huge corporations have, that if left unchecked, can change the internet as we know it.

Who guards the guardians?

Not all is lost, however, just because of the FCC (the ones who are supposed to protect our dank memes) voted to repeal net neutrality, doesn’t mean the fight for equality is over.  An ever-growing collection of senators have vowed to sue the decision. Senator Charles Schumer from New York said he will force the Senate to vote on the FCC’s ruling under the Congressional Review Act and argue overturning the decision. Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii says their goal is to use the CRA to not only repeal the ruling but also prevent the FCC from making the same repeal in the future, much like how it was done to repeal a  set of regulations accepted by the FCC in the final months of President Obama’s term. Others have also come out with strong support for net neutrality as well.

Senator John Thune has come out asking for bipartisan laws to be passed so that what seems like an endless debate can be put to rest. His hope is that both sides will come together and compromise. While this seems highly unlikely, it will be interesting to see how Democrats and Republicans can create a new regulation that makes everyone happy.

Check back on this topic as this is a developing story with many points to cover, which we will discuss in future articles.


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