Net Neutrality

By Taylor Rhyman

If you spend a lot of time on social media you may have been reading a whole lot about this thing called “Net Neutrality,” and if you are like me,  you may not know what the heck everyone is talking about. Fortunately, after hours of research and a little elbow grease, I think I am starting to get an understanding of this hot topic.

What is “Net Neutrality”?
When opening a searching the internet it is expected that you will have the world at your fingertips. An infinite amount of websites and applications that get you through day to day life having access to anything and everything you may need to know at any moment. This right is given to you by Net Neutrality.

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Basically, Net Neutrality enables and protects freedom of speech, and preserves our rights to freely communicate online. Not only this but it also prohibits Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from either speeding up or slowing down services, or blocking certain content.

Right now you’re surfing the web, and the one thing slowing you down is a weak wifi connection. But on December 14, if the Federal Communications Commission votes to get rid of Net Neutrality, everything about the internet could change.

What’s the problem? 
Recently, Trump’s chairmen of the Federal Communications Commision, Ajit Pai, has been pushing to get rid of Net Neutrality. One of his main arguments is that the rules will stifle innovation and competition. So, what exactly will this mean for all of us internet users?

(Here is an interview where Pai explains himself: Ajit Pai on Net Neutrality)

Without Net Neutrality the internet will no longer be a place of open information, rather it would become a closed down network where the ISPs says what goes. This is a problem because it gives companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast the ability to block any content that they do not like/ agree with or anything that shows a threat to their business.  Essentially, these ISPs will decide what is heard, and what is restricted.

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Another major issue is that the internet could potentially split into two tiers: a fast lane and a slow lane. The fast lane would end up being occupied by all of the big media and internet companies along with some wealthy families, while everyone else is trapped in the slow lane. This would rack up bills for the big companies and soon those expenses would flow down to those who are stuck in the slow lane. Consumers would be forced to pay a substantially higher price for the same services that were once free.

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How can we make a difference?

1. Writing to your congressmen and lawmakers is a LOT easier than it sounds. It can be done in about 5 minutes with BattlefortheNet.com. They have a pre-written letter that you can email to Congress straight from their website.

2. Contact the FCC directly and let them know what you think. After writing to Congress, you can directly contact the FCC and let them know that you’re against repealing Net Neutrality. You can contact them through their website,  call at 888-225-5332, or email Chairman Pai’s at Ajit.Pai@fcc.gov.

Right now you’re surfing the web, and the one thing slowing you down is a weak wifi connection. But on December 14, if the Federal Communications Commission votes to get rid of Net Neutrality, everything could all change.

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