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The importance of Net Neutrality

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Greg Mariscal

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While FCC chairman Ajit Pai and his team celebrate their victory, many people are starting to worry what the future of the internet will look like.

In December the FCC voted 3-2 to repeal Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is what prevents internet service providers (ISP) from slowing down certain sites, while favoring others. For example, if your ISP owns Hulu, they may slow your internet speed for a competitor like Netflix. Then if you want higher speeds for Netflix, your ISP will charge you a premium.

Portugal’s mobile broadband service charges a fee for basic services plus $6 dollars a month for each additional service, of which there are five. The additional services include messaging, social, video, music and email plans. If this mobile plan is applied to a larger scale like the internet, it could be an example of what Net Neutrality could look like in the U.S.

Social studies teacher Tanner Grimm said the ability for ISPs to control what people see online is “discriminatory” and “relates to unfair microtransactions”.

“Those companies don’t care about people they care about profit margins,” he said.

When asked how often he uses the internet Grimm said he uses it every single day. However, he doubts the school will be affected.

“I hope the school pays for the internet speed,” he said. “I think my personal life will be more affected. ”

While it may be easier for higher income individuals to pay for the highest speed, that may not be the case for lower income individuals. And, it won’t stop there. Grimm said the repeal of Net Neutrality will definitely favor bigger businesses over small businesses.

“They [small businesses] don’t have the capital to pay for what big businesses can,” he said.

In short, Grimm believes the internet should be a human right “because of our hyper connected society [and] because we should all have access to information”.

The fight for Net Neutrality isn’t over yet. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York promised a vote in the Senate that could overturn the FCC’s repeal.

It isn’t too late to participate in the fight for Net Neutrality. The public’s job now is to keep the pressure on the FCC. Visit www.battleforthenet.com for information on how to call or send a message to Congress.

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