People react negatively to the possible repealing of net neutrality

Micheal Simmons, Blue M Sports Editor

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Many internet users across the nation were sent into panic on Nov. 21 as they were informed that the principle of net neutrality might be repealed. Net neutrality is a set of rules that classify the internet as a utility and that all internet service providers are required to give free and equal access to all websites, companies, customers etc.

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commision made a proposal that would dismantle these rules, originally put in place by the Obama Administration. This information caused many social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, to explode with comments, posts and videos about the negative side of repealing net neutrality.

Think about all of the daily things several people do on the internet, such as stream videos on Youtube or movies on Netflix; now imagine not being able to do those activities because you can’t afford to pay the higher prices. If net neutrality does get repealed it is likely to benefit large telecom companies such as AT&T or Verizon, as they would then have permission to offer a larger range of services at different price points. This is one of the several reasons this proposal has sent social media platforms into disarray. Assuming this proposal passes, it would affect every single across the nation that uses the internet in any way. This proposal would also harm small online businesses that credit their success to free and equal internet access to all users, such as Pinterest or Etsy.

According to the New York Times, the FCC has fought over a decade-long battle about how they should regulate internet service. Sometimes this battle was even taken to the courts, such as in 2016 when net neutrality was upheld by a Federal Appeals court. It would not be surprising to see this proposal go to court as well. This is not the first time that this has battle caught the attention of the public eye. Companies Google and Facebook held large online protests speaking out against the changes and they are likely to suggest that internet users speak out again.

Not only would affect everyday people in their homes, this would also have an impact on education. High schools, universities, even elementary schools rely on the internet for state testing programs, which are an essential tool in judging what changes should be made to the education system. Teachers also rely on fast connection to the internet in classrooms. Imagine if a student was required to write an impromptu essay and they had one class period to do it. It would be borderline impossible to complete this task if the internet service provider chose to slow down the connection speed or even block the websites the student needed to access in order to get the proper information.

Let’s say that the practices of slowing internet speed or blocking content completely were monitored by the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission. The ISP would still have the option of charging absurd amounts in order to access specific content.

There have been millions of posts on several different social media sites of citizens reacting towards the changes. Most of them being negative as almost no one would be excited to see them having to pay more money for the same or maybe even less internet speeds. Pro-net neutrality Reddit users have taken over the front page of the website a list filled with several different lawmakers who took money from I.S.P’s. Others posted pictures of blocked content displaying the words “You must pay an extra $8.99/month in order to view this content” and then commenting “This is what the internet would look like without net neutrality”. The FCC has claimed that over 7.5 million internet comments supporting net neutrality were faked, thereby corrupting the process. To the disappointment of some of the general population and internet companies such as google and amazon, the proposal is expected to pass in a 3-2 vote. This is due to the fact the two other republicans on the commission, other than Ajit Pai–the chairman of the FCC and who gave the proposal usually vote with Pai. Despite the unknowing of the final vote will hold, it is almost guaranteed that the days following up to vote day, Dec. 14, are sure to be filled with public outcry, protests, speeches and perhaps a little bit of panic.

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