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Removing Net Neutrality - The Death of Internet Democracy

November 28, 2017

On December 14th, the Federal Communications Commission will vote on repealing Net Neutrality-the principle that Internet Service Providers will treat all data on the internet the same way, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, or method of communication. In simpler terms, the internet is a public utility and Internet Service Providers can not slow down or speed up access to certain websites. 

 

In 2015, activists pressured the FCC to a adopt historic net neutrality regulation that continued to treat the internet as a utility, allowing individuals access to any websites of their choosing at the same speed. However, this soon could could change when Trump's newly appointed FCC Commissioner and former Verizon Lobbyist, Ajit Pai, rolls back regulation and works to upend net neutrality. and allow Internet Service Providers to speed up, slow down, or restrict access to certain websites.

 

So what does that mean for you? Lets break it down into the two largest ways it may affect your life:

 

1. Digital Freedom

Originally, the internet was designed to allow users to access content without overreaching authority.  The ability for us to communicate freely is one of the guiding principles of the internet. This becomes subject to change as the large telecommunications monopolies such as Verizon, At&T, and ComCast work to become gatekeepers of information. Removing Net Neutrality would hinder our democracy and our access to public information. Internet Service Providers would be able to use their power to stifle the rights of people and business. This can look like requiring businesses to pay for "fast lane" services, interrupting access to independent news, or blocking certain news websites, social media, or other content chosen for censoring. Removing net neutrality would allot ISPs power to speed or slow down certain websites and even charge more for access to certain websites. So you want to watch Netflix? Thats another $5 to your bill. You want social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, well thats another $5 to your bill. The list goes on.

 

2. Economic Growth of Net Neutrality 

 

Think about small businesses trying to compete amongst a competitive marketplace. Net Neutrality is crucial for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and start-up companies that rely on the open internet to launch their business, create markets, advertise their products, and reach customers. The openness of the internet lowers the barriers of entry into many marketplaces while foster job growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship for online businesses. Net Neutrality puts everyone on an equal plane which has helped drive innovation and societal growth. Without it, online companies will shift from innovation to deal making. Many of the great inventions and innovations of the internet age were made possible by the protection of net neutrality. Net Neutrality has ensured limited control by the owners of networks and  maximal competition in this space, while permitting innovators from outside access to the network. 


Proponents of removing net neutrality argue that the panic around the removal is unjust. The repeal would only remove the 2015 rules that did not relate to intentional slowing or blocking of sites. They argue that there has been a historic decline in internet infrastructure due to the fear of government nationalization. Removing net neutrality could lead to experimentation and innovation among these industries.

 

The dangers of the pending decision on December 14th are eminent clear.Stay updated with Blitz Studios blog for updates of Net Neutrality and much more. Follow me on social media:

 

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