Net neutrality, and why it matters

Patrick Kernan, Opinion Editor

If you have somehow managed to avoid hearing about it, there’s a fight going on in Washington, D.C. that is going to affect you, and it’s called “net neutrality.”

To explain a bit of the background, a neutral Internet is one where all information is given the same level of priority; your movie on Netflix will load just as quickly as the web version of this very article.

Certain Internet Service Providers (ISPs) don’t like this. The ISPs want to install what’s called “Internet Fast Lanes” for privileged information; if a website has been given the permission to join the Internet Fast Lane, it will load on your computer more quickly. And, of course, ISPs want to force websites to join the Fast Lanes.

Is your blood boiling yet? It should be.

Currently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is deliberating whether or not to allow ISPs to create Internet Fast Lanes. From the FCC’s website, which accepts public comment on issues being deliberated, it is easy to tell that many people are angry about this prospect.

According to the FCC’s website at the time of writing, more than 900 thousand people have commented on this issue in the past 30 days alone, far more than any of the other issues accepting comments.

President Obama has made his position clear on the topic of net neutrality. According to Time magazine, the President said, “I was opposed to [Internet Fast Lanes] when I ran and I continue to be opposed to it now.” The President promises to not support any recommendation from the FCC that calls for Internet Fast Lanes.

It is important that the President gets his way on this issue. It should not be up to a few private corporations to determine what information is important enough to reach the public.

The Internet is the voice of this generation. If companies like Comcast and Time Warner can block information, they are essentially stifling our voices. We have to speak up and say “No” to Internet Fast Lanes.