The Battle for Net Neutrality

Scott Convery, Writer

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The United States is in the midst of a very divisive era. Surging populations of radical voices are growing on both sides of the political spectrum, and partisanship is at an all time high. But net neutrality can be one thing that all working Americans, regardless of political leaning, race or creed can get behind.

For starters, most students should be relatively familiar with the concept of net neutrality, but if you aren’t, let me paint a picture for you. Imagine if your cell phone provider, despite location or distance, billed you more for calling one friend than another. By doing this, not only do companies force their hands deeper into your pockets, but they can also control the people that you call, and by extension, the information you access. Losing net neutrality would result the same. It would allow internet providers to throttle your internet speeds for specific sites to get you, the consumer to pay more.

The corporate implications of losing net neutrality as just as disturbing. If an internet provider like Comcast made a deal with Hulu, people who use Comcast as their internet providers could have the internet speeds to any rivals of Hulu like Netflix or HBO slowed down, while Hulu speeds are accelerated. Not only does this interfere with consumers paying for services based on quality, but it could also lead to companies controlling what sites and information consumers are able to access. This leads to the most dangerous concept of all, which is a corporate-controlled media. If the corporate monoliths that control your internet don’t want you to see a video or read an article, the have the ability and the power to throttle your speeds and prevent you from seeing it. This is censorship in its purest form.

Throughout this process, one might think, ls it legal? Well, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai is essentially saying “I will make it legal.” Pai, along with a vast majority of our congressman and senators are in the pocket of the telecom lobby, assuring their vote to dismantle net neutrality in exchange for campaign funding to win their re-election. So now that our net neutrality has been repealed and our hands are tied politically, it’s time for us as a nation to vote with our wallets. Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T have invested the most money into the dismantling of our right to a free net, so if you or your family are paying these companies, I strongly urge you to switch, and show corporations the dismantling of net neutrality will not profit them. Although this repeal must still go through congress, the telecom lobbies will most likely buy them out as well, so the only power we have over the fate of our net will be to show ISP’s where the line is, and what we won’t stand for.

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The Battle for Net Neutrality