What is Net Neutrality? And why you should care



Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, testifies before a Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Joelle Dlugozima, Staff Writer

Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers must treat all online content equally and not charge users differently for visiting various websites. With the power of Net Neutrality, individuals only have to pay a monthly fee that covers all internet services. However, without Net Neutrality, ISP’s can slow down streaming services that compete with their services, charge you extra to reach individual websites, and block some sites altogether.

Net Neutrality is being threatened by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) controversial proposal to repeal the policy. Ajit Pai, the FCC chairman, along with members Michael O’Reilly and Brendan Carr expect a three to two win on December 14, the day the FCC votes for or against the repeal. The proposal has caused an uproar among citizens but not many know the arguments.

The FCC aims to give Internet Service Providers more power over their customers. ISPs will then be able to block websites, slow down internet speeds, and charge consumers extra if they require better internet access. However, carriers pledge they won’t abuse their given power.

Accessing the internet without Net Neutrality is not a new concept. New Zealand has been without the policy for years and still has high internet usage from Kiwis of all ages. The country deals out the internet in packages containing access to various websites.

Opposers argue the setup could improve internet browsing in the United States. They believe this will save consumers’ money when paying for packages with platforms they use daily. The policy benefits popular sites like Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube, but what about smaller or newer websites?

ISPs profit from an internet without Net Neutrality but average citizens are put at a disadvantage. New businesses will barely make themselves heard if they can’t make it onto a package and many people might not be able to pay for various packages. These effects will leave households deciding on whether or not they want access to entertainment each month.

ISPs can slow down internet speeds to websites that compete with their services. If YouTube conflicts with a carriers platform, they’ll limit access and force users to transfer to their programs. The repeal of Net Neutrality will be the end of the internet.

Everyone will be disconnected from the world. No one will be able to watch their favorite show, check their email, or read an article on The Eagle Edition without having to pay additional fees. Net Neutrality has been one of our most essential policies yet barely anyone understands the concept.

Take action and save the Internet. Call your representatives, email the FCC members, and text RESIST to 50409. Don’t let three men control the internet for the entire population of the United States.