Net Neutrality: Fighting for a Free Internet

Recently, Congress met to make changes to the way everyone in the United States uses the internet. Currently, if you access the internet via your phone, computer, or tablet, you will have an unrestricted experience. Once you have purchased internet access from your internet service provider, or ISP, you will have equal access and equal bandwidth for whatever website you may wish to visit. This is because, at least for now, net neutrality laws prevent telecommunications companies from restricting access to certain sections of the internet. This ensures a fair, cooperative, and engaging internet for everyone. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) led by chairman Ajit Pai, are considering changing the law. Under the new system, internet regulation would be significantly reduced, meaning millions of Americans could be at risk of a significantly more restricted internet experience. The vote is coming up very soon, and could have significant impacts on the way everyone uses the internet.

Internet service currently does have its flaws, however, such as the very small number of ISPs to choose from, often only one, which can lead to less than desirable monthly fees. Losing net neutrality, however, will do little for this issue, and will likely only provide more power to the service providers already on top as they will be able to block sites of their choice from customers. If you remove internet regulation, it inevitably leads the way for possible corruption. If AT&T has a feud with Hulu, for example, all AT&T users may be denied from accessing Hulu all together, not to mention smaller sites without a legal team to process the ensuing chaos. Obviously, this would not be a good result for anyone involved. Currently, the net neutrality laws in place would prevent much of this action from taking place, and this is what we currently have at stake.

However, with all that being said, there may be some benefits to reduced regulation. With a less restricted marketplace for internet access, some users can purchase a limited form of internet access for cheaper if they hope to save on their monthly bills. Wherever you stand on the issue, it will be an important topic in the months and years to come. While I think the potential for corruption outweighs any gains, it is definitely an issue that is worth debating.

– David Smith ’18

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