OPINION: We seriously need to save net neutrality


Protect Net Neutrality rally, San Francisco. Sept. 12, 2017. Credit Credo Action, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Alex Weidner, Managing Editor

In the spring of 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed changes to Internet regulations. The FCC believed their proposed changes were in the best interest of an open Internet, but some of the new rules were believed to be in direct contradiction to that principle. The changes would have actually had a negative impact on the freedom of Internet access.

There’s a lot to delve into with the history of net neutrality, especially within the last three years. The main issue was so-called “fast lanes” that would allow for companies to pay for faster Internet service. Internet users were worried that their Internet Service Providers (ISP) would price-gouge and put up paywalls for faster service on certain websites.

Imagine you pay monthly for your Internet service, and you want to use a high-traffic site whose owners probably paid the ISPs for faster service. With the proposed regulations, you’d likely have to pay an additional fee in your existing Internet service plan just to access that site. Ridiculous, right?

Internet users spoke up. In February 2015, the FCC voted “yes” to net neutrality.

But all of that could change this year.

On Nov. 21, chairman of the FCC Ajit Pai revealed his proposal for repealing net neutrality.

The FCC will vote on Pajit’s proposal on Dec. 14, and it’s highly likely commissioners will vote in favor of his repeal proposal. Republicans hold a 3-2 majority over Democrats on the commission.

They already voted to overturn the long-held rule that prevented individual companies from owning competing media outlets in the same town.

This is all incredibly alarming. That recent vote to overturn media market ownership rules indicates the FCC is now tilting toward deregulation, and will likely vote against net neutrality in December.

Why? Net neutrality is a pro-consumer regulation. Overturning media ownership regulations is pro-business.

The Internet is something the majority of U.S. citizens interact with almost every second of every day. The FCC is a government agency that should act in the interest of the public. The public does not benefit from eliminating net neutrality. The service carriers do, because it means they can make more money.

You might be asking yourself, “What can I do to save net neutrality?” The FCC vote is definitely going to happen. But calling your representative in Congress and voicing your concerns is the number one thing you can do now. Congress members have the power to enact legislation that would make net neutrality mandatory. You can also visit this website, which has a link to contact Congress as well as information about net neutrality and what can be done to help.

Contact the writer: [email protected]
Twitter: @WeidnerTWW