By Duke Staff
Net neutrality. Anyone with even the slightest presence on the internet has heard those words over the last few days. The current debate over net neutrality is really about freedom and openness of the internet.
Right now, radio, television, internet and cable are all regulated in the United States by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In 2015, the FCC was pressured by millions of activists to adopt the historic rules of net neutrality, thus keeping the internet free and open.
At the moment, however, the Chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, who happens to be a former lawyer for Verizon, wants to revoke net neutrality.
If net neutrality is removed, big companies like AT&T and Verizon can begin charging more for internet use, and they would have the power to block or slow down certain sites, which could be specifically targeted at their competitors. For example, Verizon could slow down the streaming capability of Netflix, because it is competition for Verizon Fios.
Yeah, if you thought DuqNet was bad, just wait.
But the big problem really comes for small-to-medium-sized businesses. The loss of net neutrality means that many of these businesses — or businesses that are trying to get off the ground — may never even get the chance to promote themselves because they can’t afford to pay the new, higher internet prices.
If this gets removed, the internet becomes a bidding ground where the highest companies get their content promoted and their competitors blocked, and that is a very dangerous thing. This is dangerous to the people because the internet no longer is free and open. The people no longer have a say in what they choose to interact with when online. It will all become mandated by companies.
Pai is arguing that removal of net neutrality will promote a “pro-competitive” marketplace, which it technically will because companies will now be competing against each other to promote their product, but at what cost?
The cost is that our internet becomes regulated. In the United States, we scoff at countries that regulate what their people see on the internet, but that is exactly the same thing that could happen here — except for one big difference: It wouldn’t be regulated by the government, but instead by big businesses.
The FCC will vote on the repeal of net neutrality on Dec. 14, and with 3 of the 5 seats being held by Republicans, the proposal is expected to pass.
Right now, the internet is a free space for everyone and anyone to share their opinions. However, if that goes away, the internet becomes a shell of what it currently is.
In 2017, everyone uses the internet, so this is not a problem isolated to small business owners and
entrepreneurs. This affects all of us.
In this day and age, we are all on the internet all the time. So for our options to be limited by the companies that are paying the most money, that takes away our freedom of choice. A core foundation of the United States is freedom of choice. That is one of the many reasons that millions of people immigrated here in the early days of our country, for their right to choose.
So when you’re making a choice on whether you care about net neutrality, remember that there’s no Stranger Things on Verizon fios.