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Why ending net neutrality is disastrous

The phrase “net neutrality” has been thrown around quite a lot these past few weeks. Really, all that we know is that our government is trying to get rid of it. But what is net neutrality and what does removing it mean for us? Let’s dive right in.

Net neutrality prohibits internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from blocking content, applications or websites from your use. In 2015 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was pressured to adopt the Open Internet Order, which is also called the Title II Order. 

This order classifies internet service providers as common carriers, banning them from activities like paid prioritization, blocking and speeding up or slowing down service at will. It allows the internet to be free and open, allowing information to be shared and accessed

without interference.

The problem now is that President Donald Trump’s FCC chairman, a man named Ajit Pai, wants get rid of net neutrality. On Dec. 14, the FCC will vote on this proposal, a proposal that millions of Americans are against. America is a country founded on freedom of speech. It is one of the most important pillars of our Constitution. But now, the Trump administration is willing to just throw it away, like it means nothing at all.

How can one justify limiting our freedom of information and the press in the name of more money for large companies? Who thinks that our right to understand what is going on in our country and the world is a privilege that only the rich can afford? 

Although many of us might disagree when it comes to what news outlets we use, we can all agree that we do not want to be brainwashed or have our sources limited, tampered with or taken away from us. It is our right to have access to them, and it is not ok for the government to allow this to occur. This is not strictly a democratic or republican issue, but a bipartisan one in the

highest degree.

The worst part is that the lower classes in the United States will suffer the most, as many will be unable to afford access to all of the internet. Everyone knows how ingrained the internet is in our everyday lives, whether it be for research, social media, the news, Netflix or more. Imagine having little to no access to those benefits, because for the poorer people in this country, those will become a luxury that they

cannot afford. 

This proposal to take away net neutrality is, essentially, systematically suppressing lower class Americans and taking away opportunities that they may have to better their situations and keep in tune with our culture. It will further divide the gap between the rich and the poor in our country as well, because higher ups working for internet providers will continue to make more money, while the poorer citizens of our country will have less and less of an opportunity to get ahead and improve

life circumstances.

According to Engadget, corporations such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Twitter, Airbnb, Pinterest, Reddit and over 195 other internet companies are currently supporting net neutrality as defined by Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. This means that these companies are all in support of the Open Internet Order. And guess who is in support of getting rid of net neutrality? You guessed it! Really, the only companies against net neutrality, also according to Engadget, are Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Comcast, the very companies who would all stand to make a profit from taking away

net neutrality.

Additionally, because internet providers are all competing with each other, they can prioritize their own products, and effectively stop access to products produced by other internet providers. This is another layer to the issue, because Verizon users, for example, might be forced to use Verizon’s Go90 instead of Netflix or Hulu because it is their only option when it comes to a streaming service. Verizon could, theoretically, slow down the streaming of a site like Netflix or Hulu and then charge more for streaming services at the speeds that you are used to. By doing so, they are basically forcing their consumers to use the inferior Go90 because not everyone will be able to afford extra charges for streaming that actually works. If this occurs with every large internet provider, competition between other non-internet providing companies and products will

become nonexistent.

Do not let the big companies fool you. Their websites will be prioritized. Their news sources will be prioritized. Their products will be prioritized. Their version of the internet will be prioritized. Do not give your internet providers the option to control your speed or reliability based on their own views

and concerns. 

Do not let our government take away our access to knowledge. Contact the Federal Communications Commission and ask them to protect your rights. Call your congressmen and women, and urge them to speak out. Do not let this proposal pass on Dec. 14, because if it does, it is a slippery slope that leads to an under-educated public and a world where a handful of companies control our everyday lives.

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