What You Need To Know About Net Neutrality

Molly Clark, A&E Editor

On December 14th 2017, The FCC (Federal Communications Commision), is expected to vote on the fate of net neutrality, to repeal or not. This announcement has caused fearfulness and rage to spread all throughout the U.S. This poses two important questions for those not as educated about the topic because knowledge is the best way to protect what’s important to us, What is Net Neutrality and why is everyone freaking out about it?

To sum it up in as few words as possible, Net Neutrality is internet freedom for all. It is the basic concept that keeps service providers from blocking any content you would like to see and/or use. Without this principle, we will be facing a large variety of problems. For anyone who is impartial, here is why you should be concerned.

The internet services you use, such as Facebook, email, online shopping services, etc. could be split up and systemized as “extras”. In other words, consumers will be paying for programs that are already free. Just for basic things like email, that could be up to an extra $50 to $100 per year.

Net Neutrality is also so important for businesses. For small business owners and entrepreneurs, they rely on the internet to jump start their careers. Open internet is crucial for job growth, inventiveness and creativity. For these people who use no or low charge websites, such as Etsy or blogs, they will now come up against unnecessary, extra charge.

Now, what about healthcare? Repealing Net Neutrality would seriously harm minorities, as well as those coming from low-income. Access to emergency health services would be dangerously low. Essentially, the reason for this is Net Neutrality helps healthcare providers to give services to minorities in inventive ways.

There are so many basic things that will be affected by this but lastly and possibly the most socially agreeable, education. In our day and age, open internet is wildly essential to schools. Many schools are taking extreme advantage of the availability of the internet and using it for almost everything. However, the reason why they are able to do so is Net Neutrality. The internet that teachers are using will now have a big cost, especially considering how much of it they use per day with their hundreds of students. Not only will this cause trouble for the public school system but for students who choose online school as well. Online schools that are typically free of charge will now cause students to pay.

Another huge group of people that will be affected by the repeal is activists of all shapes and sizes. From people of color, to the LGBTQ+ community, to women and everyone else in between. Open internet allows all of these groups to share their experiences online and raise attention on social injustice. Without Net Neutrality, they could hide speech and prevent voices from speaking freely online. Activists would lose an indispensable platform to create change and make an impact. Overall, the disruption of open internet is the disruption of free speech, which goes against what the First Amendment promises us. The Constitution assures us free speech.

I can only hope this gave you a bit more knowledge about such a big issue in America at the moment. Spread your awareness with those around you so we can all know about the real consequences of what’s going on in our country because knowledge is power. But for now, we will just have to wait and see what happens.