On Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission will vote on whether or not to repeal net neutrality. Many people don’t fully understand what net neutrality is. I didn’t until about a year ago, but it’s really important, and it benefits everyone.
Net neutrality laws are what keep the internet accessible to anyone, which is great. Anyone with a laptop, smartphone or a public library can have infinite information at the tips of their fingers.
However, if net neutrality is repealed, that might not be the case.
Internet service providers will conduct business differently.
They’ll be able to provide slower service and charge extra money per month for faster service. In addition, they could charge for access to certain websites.
Portugal and New Zealand are both countries without net neutrality, and they pay a certain amount per month for internet and pay extra for “bundles” like social media, videos, music and messaging.
ISPs would also be able to make certain websites priorities, and people would be shown that content more often or have easier access to it.
The FCC would even have the ability to block websites if they wanted. Lack of net neutrality is basically overdone censorship as well as a monopoly on the internet.
This will affect just about everyone if net neutrality is repealed. I’m sure most of the people reading this are college students or faculty at the university.
Hypothetically, you could have to pay an extra fee for access to Canvas to submit assignments and take online classes, another one for JSTOR for writing scholarly papers and an additional one for access to email or Facebook Messenger.
On top of that, you’d have to cough up even more cash if you wanted to listen to music on Spotify or stream movies and TV through Netflix and Hulu.
If students weren’t left to pay for these bundles on their own and the university paid for it along with the internet the school has, tuition would skyrocket.
Small businesses and start-ups would also suffer, as they often have little funding and rely on the internet to sell products or promote themselves.
Losing net neutrality would change the way we communicate and learn. But there’s things that you can do to prevent it from happening.
The website Battle for the Net has great resources that make it very easy to send an email to your Congressman. In addition, they have a script for a phone call and connect you with your representatives based off your zip code, and you can even sign up for them to auto-call every day.
Lastly, there is a chart with the protests that will occur at various Verizon stores Dec. 7, and you can search to find the protest nearest to you.
Remember, just because things might be bad in this country, it doesn’t mean that you’re powerless or can’t do anything to try and stop it.