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OPINION Net Neutrality: Why Should I Care?

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Over the last few weeks social media has been flooding with panic over the new alleged attack on Net Neutrality. The Trump administration’s new FCC chairman, Ajit Pai is proposing to roll back internet regulations. Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon currently treat all internet browsing equally, free from discrimination against apps or sites—known as Net Neutrality. Essentially, they are the rules and regulations that provide equal access to the internet without additional pay. The new FCC rules enable ISPs to have control and influence over user’s browsing depending on the amount of money you pay. Moreover, the more money you are willing to pay, the faster your internet, the more available apps and websites you will have.

For example, Netflix—Netflix’s traffic accounted for 36.5% of all internet traffic, ISPs were frustrated with the abundant bandwidth that the providers slowed Netflix until they payed the company more money in order to upgrade their streaming speed. Ultimately, this means that richer companies will have superior service considering they can pay off the ISPs while lower income companies will be abandoned with base line service.

David Gewirtz wrote in article in which he communicated his findings through analysis that the attack on net neutrality is not actually as detrimental as social media has hyped it up to be. He later came across a new document that challenged his claim. He released a new article that exposed the realities of what Ajit Pai is trying to accomplish, under the name of free market.

David Gewirtz said: “I based my analysis in this article on a May 23, 2017 notice of proposed rulemaking, which is the latest such official document listed in the government’s EDOCS system for Docket 17-108, the rule change code for the proposed changes.”

There exist 3 main rules in Net neutrality: No blocking, no throttling, and no paid prioritization. Essentially these rules protect against ISPs from blocking competing websites or information that contradicts the company’s values, whether that be political or economically. Service Providers can not purposely slowing  specific internet traffic, for example, consumers use an abundance of data just from streaming. No throttling rules prevent ISPs from slowing traffic from those streaming sites to promote the ISPs own streaming service. Finally, no paid prioritization, this is basically preventing ISPs from favoring websites and servers that pay them extra for faster service. Through Gewirtz analysis he unveils that  these three rules will no longer exist.

Why Should I Care?

Without these regulations, ISPs will be able to dictate our amount of access, what we do and don’t see. This is where Censorship becomes an issue; these companies could filter through websites, articles, petitions and online protests and decide what they want consumers to see. For instance, a petition could be circling the web that threatens an ISP, that company can block all access to said petition and put free speech at stake.

Note that internet communication and use was never free, but what the end of net neutrality issues is growing expenses with little to no limitation. This issue reaches beyond whether you will have to pay more for Instagram or Netflix, it will negatively impact our society as a whole.

As everyday consumers of google, social media, video streaming and messaging, our accustomed lifestyles could now be at stake. Our society has become comfortable and dependent on the internet, in classrooms and offices across the country. If Net Neutrality laws are rolled back, low income school districts may struggles to provide substantial internet access for their students. Students taking online classes and research, entrepreneurs running blogs, journalists, freelancers, youtubers and more will have to pay exponentially growing prices to do their job and support themselves.

In the end, Net Neutrality is essential to everyday life and opportunity on the internet and in America.

The final vote is on December 14.

Text RESIST to 50409 to save the internet, or call your senator!

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