The battle for Net Neutrality continues


Mrs. Giancola

Junior Samantha Kinnaird and senior Kurt Stitzel each fight for their position on the battlefield of words.

Samantha Kinnaird and Kurt Stitzel, Staff Writers

On December 14, 2017 the FCC voted to repeal the Net Neutrality established under the Obama Administration in 2015. Despite 83 percent of voters supporting the Net Neutrality rules, the FCC voted 3-2 to repeal. This has lead to mass protest from young voters on both ends of the political spectrum.

Since then, the FCC has been met with numerous lawsuits coming from upwards of 12 states and the number is only growing. Many state legislators are even instituting their own versions of Net Neutrality. On January 25, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order stating that Net Neutrality laws will be kept and enforced in the state of New York. This is following in the footsteps of Montana Governor Steve Bullock writing a similar order.

The fight for Net Neutrality is being kept alive by both individual states and cities. Even fast food restaurant Burger King recently slammed the repeal in a TV ad. Yet, telecommunication companies still push for the complete dismantling of these laws. So which side is right?

The end of free speech as we know it

It’s already been over two months and I’m still reeling over the FCC decision to repeal Net Neutrality laws. Every time that little grey buffering circle appears, all I can think about is: are my Internet service providers already throttling my connection? Are my links not working because there is nothing there or are they restricting what content I am allowed to see?

I won’t sugar coat my feelings on the subject. The FCC decision struck to close to home and I’m going to have to be the one to pay for it, literally. Without Obama Era protections, we could now be paying more for the Internet we use every day.

Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram could be labeled as high priority sites. This means that every time you log on you could face loading screens. If you can’t pay for the high tier Internet packages, you’ll be stuck waiting in line for your turn. Or they could block the content altogether. Unless you pay for their monthly social media package fee, it would be impossible to post a status about your outrage.

This is more than just a war on your wallet. It’s a war on free speech. With Net Neutrality laws, all Web sites were created equal and given equal opportunity to express their platforms. If someone didn’t like the current president or government, they could post anything they want about it. Now Internet providers can pick and choose what they want you to know and see. For example, Spectrum could decide to make it free to go to the Fox News Website, but force you to pay extra to go to CNN. To avoid paying, more people would go to Fox News and only be able to get news and information from them. Since it’s more expensive and time-consuming to fact check, most people are just going to assume what Fox News is writing is the truth. This can only lead to abuse of their power and trust.

Or, say your Internet provider favors one political candidate over the other. With a few short key strokes, all of the opposing party’s content is dropped to the bottom pages of your search engines. If they really don’t want you seeing it, all they have to do is restrict the content and it won’t appear at all. Political candidates could buy their way into office, paying off our Internet providers for higher search result links.

Another way of looking at the issue: the end of a useless government regulation

If you ask basically any teacher, high school student, college student, or Democrat about Net Neutrality, you would think we were going back to the stone ages in terms of the Internet. Well to absolutely nobody’s surprise, the left has overreacted yet again.

Net Neutrality is a restriction, in my opinion, not protection. It was put in place February 26, 2015. I don’t know about you, but did anyone experience the Internet slowing your speeds drastically, making you pay large amounts of money, or force you to like a certain political candidate? Were you all not allowed to go on your little rants on Facebook about how hard your lives are, or how we should all get free college, free healthcare, and free whatever else people with jobs could pay for? I don’t recall that being a problem in early 2015 or even years prior to that.

While Kinnaird is correct, 83 percent of voters support Net Neutrality rules, I don’t want anyone to forget that the man who led the effort to repeal Net Neutrality was appointed by President Obama to be the Commissioner of the FCC in 2012, and later he was appointed to be the Chairman of the FCC by Trump (your president). Another note about Ajit Pai, he attended college at Harvard University and University of Chicago.

Net Neutrality is a government regulation, so don’t act like it is something we need to survive. Depending on your opinions, government regulations can be good or bad. I think they are bad, so as you can imagine, I think repealing Net Neutrality is a good thing.

According to Aaron Bandler a writer for the Dailywire, “Ian Tuttle notes at National Review that when the FCC first attempted Net Neutrality regulations in 2010, they were only able to ‘cite just four examples of anti-competitive behavior, all relatively minor.’”  So, through the whole internet there were only four cited examples of anti-competitive behavior in 2010. So why is Net Neutrality so important? That’s a great question. The answer is… Net Neutrality isn’t important.

Here is why: Don’t you think if your Internet service provider was slowing down your Internet you would find a different Internet service provider? I would hope you would; that is one of the many benefits of the free market economy. Having less restrictions on the Internet will improve the Internet significantly because competition ensures that companies will not have the leverage to discriminate against certain Websites. If you know your ISP is blocking a Website, you can use a different ISP; this will increase competition and force ISPs to provide fair and affordable Internet, because if they do not, you the consumers will not pay them. Why would you continuously pay for poor Internet that is slow and restricts content? You wouldn’t.

One last thing, Internet service providers won’t try to make you vote a certain way I mean come on; it’s not like they are Hollywood, or your high school teachers.