Quick poll. Where are you reading this? In the paper? Probably a few of you. I bet, however, that most of you are reading this online at DailyCampus.com. Which means you are realistically reading this on your phone or computer. You can probably see where this is going.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for these past few months, you know the Federal Communications Commission is about to make some big changes. On Dec. 14th, the FCC will hold a vote in which they decide whether or not to repeal net neutrality rules put into place under the Obama administration.
The vote would move the governing body of the internet from the FCC to the Federal Trade Commission, basically changing the internet from a place to a product. This would effectively change how the internet is handled in the future.
Net neutrality is a buzz word that has been bouncing around for a while, but a ton of people don’t actually know what it means. In simple words, it means that internet will remain a place that can’t be restricted by some kind provider. Everyone who goes through the proper channels for internet will be able to reach the same sites as someone else no matter what device or carrier they are using to reach those sites. Under net neutrality, all internet traffic is equal.
If the current net neutrality laws are repealed and administration of the internet is transferred to the FTC the current state of the internet would change dramatically. Removing the barriers placed on internet service providers, like Comcast and Verizon, would allow them to restrict how people access sites on internet. If they wanted to make people pay extra or pay higher premiums to access entertainment websites or news sites, they could. Because the FTC mainly deals with punishing those who have broken the rules, there is nothing preventing internet service providers from creating new rules that allow them to change the way that people currently consume the internet.
Back in 2014, Comcast customers who were using Netflix had trouble reaching the video streaming site. Customers believed that the ISP was intentionally sabotaging access and use of the site because it was unhappy with the deal it had with Netflix. Netflix eventually paid more money to Comcast for fixing the issue and everything went back to normal. That event was a sneak-peek at what the country could experience if net neutrality laws are changed. ISPs could hold consumers and internet services hostage in order to make more money. Neither the FTC nor the FCC would be able to stop them.
In the entire history of the internet, nobody in America has ever really experienced what would happen if net neutrality didn’t exist. The internet has always been open to everyone.
It was because of the openness that sites like Amazon and Google have been able to grow so big. The openness has allowed small news organizations like the Daily Campus to still exist with some kind of internet presence. It’s what allows small businesses to start out from nothing and still be able to connect with customers across the country.
If net neutrality is repealed, the American Dream spirit that has allowed entrepreneurs to grow something from scratch would be destroyed. The internet is also such a huge part of everyones’ lives. People live their lives on the internet. They connect with family and friends. Limiting that connection would destroy the connections that people have made.
Many ISPs have promised they would not change anything if net neutrality were repealed. However, the fact of the matter is that if net neutrality is repealed, there is nothing stopping them from actually putting those fees and limitations into place. The stock market collapse of 2008 and the waves resulting from it have shown that corporations could care less about what happens to the everyday person.
The FCC has already closed public comments on their website however people can still make their voice heard. Before the vote is taken, citizens need to reach out to their congressmen and congresswomen.
The time to save the internet is now. Do your part.