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Surf’s up: Net Neutrality Drowns

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Surf’s up: Net Neutrality Drowns

Alexa Lee, Staff

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If you use the Internet, then you’ve probably heard: Net Neutrality, a policy set to make the Internet less competitive and essentially classified the internet as a necessity, has been abolished. In December, when the changel was approved, people were panicking. So far, there has been nothing to show for this, though. No sign of the once-harrowing end to full access to the Internet, for consumers. So, what exactly does this mean?

For the average Internet user, the repeal of Net Neutrality means that depending on your Internet Service Provider(ISP), you could experience slower internet service, or “throttling;” in addition, websites preferred by your ISP could be more accessible than those of others, and some content could even be blocked. Along with this, some are saying that Internet could be sold in “packages,” like cable, that you pay fees for access to. For example, one package might include access to social media, and other types of websites. A reality in Portugal, people are offered a variety of different packages, one for search engines and necessities like Google and Gmail, another for social media like Facebook and Twitter, and lastly from this particular AT&T ad, a package with news websites. Imagine life where you had access to only certain websites, and you had to pay a monthly fee to experience what was once not a privilege, but a given in your life. This may soon be more than imaginary.

In addition to affecting the common consumer,, net neutrality’s absence also affects schools, libraries, and other non-profits that benefit the general public. Without the access to certain sites and content, researching, studying, even a teacher’s access to certain projects for students is threatened. The quality of a child’s education is certainly already determined much by class, with private institutions and the like, but we may see an even further division without net neutrality. It may be divided by area, by provider. Grim days for public schooling may be on the horizon, unless there’s funding in a school’s budget for all the online resources needed, added onto all the physical resources that already rack up a hefty bill on an annual budget.

So, what’s good about this? Why was net neutrality repealed if it’s so good, anyway? Opposition to the FCC controlled version of the Internet claimed net neutrality “A threat to Internet freedom.” Well, to put it simply, this was to give more power over the Internet into the hands of businesses, to increase innovation and, hopefully, competition. This repeal gives the power to the market, also hoping to increase the chances of smaller ISPs that would rely on “paid priority” rather than popularity.

 

Although the FCC has ruled to repeal net neutrality, the ruling still could be contested in court. Like with all things, results will take time. How much isn’t yet foreseeable, but certainly time itself will tell.  

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