Call your senator, net neutrality needs citizen support to stay alive

Caitlin Deerwester, Page Design Editor

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a government agency that regulates communications. On Dec. 14, 2017 the FCC voted 3-2 in favor of repealing net neutrality.

Net neutrality is essential in protecting the publics free internet usage. This prevents internet providers from treating any type of service on the internet differently. The ruling for net neutrality was established by Obama in 2015.

The repeal of net neutrality was first proposed by Ajit Pai who became the new chairman and director of the FCC just last year.
Proponents of repealing net neutrality claimed it would create more choice for the consumers and create a faster internet, though there is no proof that net neutrality didn’t help the public have a free internet.

Without net neutrality internet providers could slow internet for various websites or even block websites just on the basis of competition as reported by Fox News.

This is very worrisome considering the three largest service providers, Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast own the majority of websites that could end up being slowed or blocked by another network. For instance, in 2015 before the net neutrality ruling, Obama-appointed chairman Tom Wheeler to the FCC found that Verizon and AT&T were favoring the content they owned.

The favoring of content hurts small companies the most since it will make it more difficult starting out due to the possibility of slower access to their websites, especially if they are in direct competition of big company owned content.

In response to the repeal, all 49 democratic senators and one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine have endorsed legislature to override the decision. However, in order for it to pass they need one more Republican, since Vice President Pence can vote to break a tie.

In combination 21 state attorney generals filed suits to challenge the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality.

No one wants to pay for fast internet for content they have had easy access to for years, also it could have a major effect on small companies if it hurt their progress due to reduced access to the internet.

The progress of new websites has been constantly increasing, but could now go stagnant. Imagine if twitter, when it was first created, was blocked or slowed so that Myspace could be favored. This could easily be done by service providers without net neutrality to stop them.

***Editorial Cartoon drawn by Andrew Sykora

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