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Net Neutrality: The (Possible) Future of the Internet

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As of December 14, 2017, Congress is set to hold a vote alongside the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) on the fate of the World Wide Web, a service that billions of people around the world to connect and do practically anything. The vote is set to repeal the Obama-era policy of net neutrality. The policy states that all Internet service providers (i.e Verizon Communications Inc., CenturyLink, ATT Inc., etc.) must treat all consumers the same, regardless of user, access, or usage. It grants these companies greater control over Internet usage, to put it simply.

Verizon Wireless, one of the corporations supporting the repeal, is in the midst of a strike, which could get worse with the outcome of the court case revealed (Courtesy of Sean O’Kane).

Many conservatives and business state the large financial gain for Internet service providers and other companies, if the former president’s policy is repealed. The Chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai said, “My concern is that, by imposing those heavy-handed economic regulations on Internet service providers big and small, we could end up disincentivizing companies from wanting to build out Internet access to a lot of parts of the country, in low-income, urban and rural areas, for example. And that, I think, is something that nobody would benefit from”. With the money gained, corporations could increase the range of Internet access, namely in places such as the Alaskan arctic, or the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said, “Under this terribly misguided proposal, the Internet as we have come to know it would cease to exist and the average American would be the big loser. We must not let private corporations turn bigger and bigger profits by putting a price tag on the free flow of ideas”.

A majority of protestors of the repealing cite the loss of Internet freedom if net neutrality is repealed (Courtesy of cartoonist Dana Summers).

 

This hasn’t settled well with many Americans, with a nationwide outrage over the possible repealing of net neutrality taking place. One such consumer, Jeff Newman, an Instructional Technology Integration specialist said, “Net neutrality was devised for a certain reason: to make sure that all have equal access to all the necessary needs and opportunities over the internet. I think by repealing the policy, you’re going to start seeing limitations on things, you’re gonna start seeing companies dividing up resources, and charging more money on them, and taking advantage of the normal person. A lot of freedom is going to be hurt”. Others have cited the possible monopolization of the Internet in the United States.

Supporters and advocates for net neutrality gathered in Washington D.C, as some claim the repealing will eliminate the freedom of speech (Courtesy of Andrea Germanos)

Most Americans have weighed in on the issue, albeit little response from the FCC. Regardless, people have strong opinions on the issue of keeping net neutrality, or ending it. So where do you stand on this digital deed?

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