Net Neutrality May be a Thing of the Past

By Yasmine Trinidad

Net neutrality’s open and free internet came under attack in December as the Federal Communications Commission along with Trump administration are working to remove regulations that currently protect access.

Under rules put in place in 2015 by former President Barack Obama, Internet Service Providers such as Cox Communications Inc., Verizon Wireless and Comcast Corp. should or must treat all internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source or destination, according to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. This means that the speed of websites from one source to another is the same. For example, a person could access eBay Inc. as quickly as accessing a small non-profit organization’s website.

“At face value the term net neutrality sounds like something we should all be behind,” said Professor Michele Fogg, who teaches media and journalism at College of Southern Nevada. “Without net neutrality, access to the internet will favor the powerful rich telecommunication companies who can pay for access and therefore discriminate against smaller operations. Of course we don’t want that.”

According to the FCC’s report, on Dec. 14, 2017 President Donald Trump and the FCC voted to make the network neutrality principle a thing of the past. He had even appointed a new chairman, Ajit Pai, to the FCC board to put his plan in to action. Trump wants to get rid of the regulations that require the internet providers to provide equal speed and access for all websites and instead allow it to be commercialized, which may benefit businesses.

An online survey was conducted in December 2017 by Nielsen Scarborough from the School of Public Policy at University of Maryland that showed 83 percent of participants opposed the repeal of net neutrality and 15 percent were in favor of it.

According to Title II under the FCC plan, if the current rules change, which will be decided end of April with a vote by Congress, it could mean that consumers and content providers may have to pay more or see slower speeds when surfing the net.

Some websites may be blocked if they don’t pay the internet providers for access to consumers. Consumers may not be able to get information from certain websites in a timely way if they don’t purchase packages such as a social-media bundle. Additionally consumers may see throttling, which could slow the transmission of data based on the nature of the content. Also paid prioritization may allow companies to get faster access to its consumers to beat out its competitors.

“Students should be cautious about jumping on the bandwagon and take the time to become educated on the issue and its complexities,” Fogg said. “Not many people understand what the repeal of Title II means and should study the published statement by the FFC chair as well as study the congressional bills intended to reverse the decision.”

Chris Johnson, CSN business student, offered his opinion, “It just blows my mind that people are actually eating this up. This principle is not in favor of anyone besides corporate money. This could completely crush it. Any new start-ups could be eaten alive by these already established mega-corporations that have enough power to overshadow any new idea.”

Though many are against the repeal, some are in favor of it.

“I think people need to do their background research,” said Jackie Sanchez, CSN student. “What worked in the past isn’t always proven to work now. Just because this principle was put into place only a few years ago does not mean things on the internet were perfect.”

Sanchez does realize that the repeal would favor businesses and may cause some problems. “You’re paying for prioritization.” She thinks the repeal may pose an eminent threat to the internet and the public has been kept in the dark at large.

A counter motion is in play currently as Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and other senators announced their plan to introduce a Congressional Review Act resolution that would undo the action by the FCC and restore the 2015 net neutrality rules. Markey now has 50 supporters.

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