Despite growing opposition, FCC passes repeal of Net Neutrality

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Despite growing opposition, FCC passes repeal of Net Neutrality

Alternative Copy by Rosie Braun

Alternative Copy by Rosie Braun

Alternative Copy by Rosie Braun

The internet is like a grocery store. It is full of all different kinds and qualities of foods and is open to all people. Grocery stores are set up like this because everyone needs and deserves open and equal access to food. The same goes for the internet, anyone with access to a computer can go anywhere they wish to on the internet and can gather the same beneficial information from it as anyone else.

Republican chairman Ajit Pai of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was able pass his plan within the FCC to repeal Net Neutrality, which are the rules put in place by the government in 2015 preventing the blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization of content on the internet.

If his plan passes Congress, the internet would no longer be completely open to everyone. The internet without net neutrality would become like a grocery store that is set up with the healthiest most beneficial foods at the back and the least beneficial, processed and prepackaged foods at the front. It would then have barriers that people would have to pay to get through to have access to the most beneficial foods.

“There are communities or schools that use the internet services for learning that have been very beneficial for them. But if we repeal Net Neutrality, they won’t have access to those services anymore or they’ll have to have to pay for those services which can put a strain on those communities or they might not be able to use them at all,” sophomore Sophie Browning said.

There are communities or schools that use the internet services for learning that have been very beneficial for them. But if we repeal Net Neutrality, they won’t have access to those services anymore or they’ll have to have to pay for those services which can put a strain on those communities or they might not be able to use them at all.”

— Sophie Browning

Low income schools and communities would be the hardest hit by the repeal. Because of the FCC’s “E-Rate” Program, which reduces internet prices for public schools, 99 percent of U.S. k-12 schools have internet access, however just because they have internet access through this program does not mean they will not be affected by the repeal. Many of the low income school rely heavily on free educational services and resources available on the internet. If Net Neutrality were repealed, an intense strain would be placed on already tight budgets or they could lose access to these services all together.

“I think what we would see with that as far as impacting the public school is that we wouldn’t notice a difference. I think that, you know, we’d pay a little bit more here or there which then gets metered out… In our $40 million budget I think there are a lot of areas where we wouldn’t notice it,” Assistant Principal Aaron Drevlow said.

According to Drevlow, students would not notice much of a difference in internet use after the repeal. Within the $40 million budget, a $15 or $20 thousand increase would not make much of a splash, slight shifts would have to be made in individual budgets within the school, however, which is not ideal.

The repeal is not a bad thing for everyone, it is extremely beneficial for internet service providers (ISPs). ISPs would profit from making websites “pay to stay fast”, putting a price on the speed with which internet users can use their websites. Wealthy companies also benefit from the repeal because, in partnership with ISPs, they can essentially eliminate any competition from smaller businesses on the internet by paying to have priority over other websites.

Though the repeal passed along partisan lines within the FCC, the fight for maintaining net neutrality is not over. It is still possible for Congress to pass a “Resolution of Disapproval” which would overturn the FCCs vote. People in support of net neutrality should write and call Congress and their representatives to tell them that they should pass the “Resolution of Disapproval” and protect net neutrality for all U.S. citizens. People who wish to do this can go on battleforthenet.com where they can put in their email, address, and phone number and can send a generic or customized letter to congress and their representatives. They will also be given the option to call their representatives using a script provided by the website.

 

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