The FCC’s Dangerous Decision on Net Neutrality


Alex Nowak, Staff Writer

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the agency would vote to undo Obama-era net neutrality rules on December 14. The rules keep companies like Verizon, Comcast and other large internet service providers (ISPs) from slowing down websites or otherwise controlling users overall internet experience.

The FCC board should vote to maintain current net neutrality regulations to protect everyone’s right to fair internet access.

Net neutrality rules prevent ISPs from arbitrarily changing bandwidth for different internet companies. Without net neutrality, ISPs like Comcast and AT&T will essentially have the power to increase prices for a faster internet connection. Companies like Google or Amazon who can afford to pay for more bandwidth, will likely raise the rates on their customers.

Internet providers will have the opportunity to bottle neck bandwidth for smaller websites who can’t pay for advanced internet connections, making it harder for small start-up companies to realize the American dream. Without net neutrality regulations, smaller businesses fear they may not have an even digital playing field to compete against wealthy industry giants.

It’s not just businesses big and small that run the risk of facing the negative consequences of internet deregulation. Back in August, when white supremacists rallied with torches, news spread like wildfire on social media creating a much-needed conversation that would never have been possible without free and equal access to the internet.

Pai believes it is a new era of internet usage, companies should have to ability to treat their service as a free market. By using some of the same ideas from the Clinton-era, Pai and the FCC want policies that promote lightly regulated Internet access, instead of tightly managed ISPs. He explains that this “free market” approach will enable the start of internet investment and innovation that follows.

Even with the most controversial subjects like gun control, groups like the NRA don’t support the banning of all regulations especially assault rifles and back ground checks like Pai is doing with the internet. In 2008 when Bush administration took away mortgage regulations, that led to the housing market collapse.

These regulations are the only reason large internet companies haven’t already decided on the winners and losers in this debate. Understanding net neutrality and the importance it has now, and will have in the daily lives of young people is essential to maintaining and nurturing some of the most important freedoms we have. As an American citizen, we should use whatever means necessary, including our voice over a free and fair internet, to let our legislators know that net neutrality should not be rescinded.