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3 to 2 vote to repeal net neutrality sparks controversy and confusion among Americans: Do you understand the advantages and disadvantages?

Protestors+in+front+of+the+Federal+Communications+Commission+building+holding+up+a+sign+in+protest+of+regulated+internet.+
Protestors in front of the Federal Communications Commission building holding up a sign in protest of regulated internet.

Protestors in front of the Federal Communications Commission building holding up a sign in protest of regulated internet.

Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Protestors in front of the Federal Communications Commission building holding up a sign in protest of regulated internet.

Aiden Deming, Guest to the Quest

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Washington DC — In a 3 to 2 vote today from the commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the FCC voted to dismantle rules regulating the businesses that connect consumers to the Internet, granting broadband companies the power to potentially reshape America’s online experiences. One of the hottest topics and controversial stories facing the country today is the battle to keep the internet a neutral and free place. What was once an economically thriving advancement in technology is now being threatened with “light touch” regulation, according to the FCC.  

The FCC Commissioners responsible for the repeal of net neutrality. Ajit Pai (voted for regulations), Mignon Clyburn (voted against), Michael O’Riely (voted for regulations), Brendan Carr (voted for regulations), and Jessica Rosenworcel (voted against).

In a 2017 article titled, “FCC Will Return to ‘Light-Touch’ Regulation, Chairman Says”, authors Stefan Nicola and Caroline Hyde report that “the FCC is considering what framework would work best to protect both the FCC’s principles and the need for investment.” When listening to the Federal Communications Commission commissioners make claims where confusing and uncertain rhetoric spews from their mouths, the understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of such a decision regarding net neutrality remains unknown to the public.

Net neutrality is the concept that all internet speeds are treated the same and that Internet Search Providers (ISPs) cannot block or charge more for certain content. Net neutrality offers a free open internet with no cost to access certain service. In short, net neutrality requires ISPs to treat all data online equally. In fact, reporter Rob Price of Business Insider explains that “An internet service provider can’t prioritize certain companies of types of data, charge users more to access certain websites and apps, or charge businesses for preferential access.” With a vote to ditch net neutrality, the internet as we know it will begin to change.

“At this point, the FCC has opened Pandora’s Box, except in this technological scenario, lovers of internet freedom aren’t going to go down without a fight!”

Trump appointee and former Verizon attorney, Ajit Pai is responsible for stripping away Obama era laws regarding net neutrality that was put in place during the Obama Administration back in 2015. A former Google employee, Yonatan Zunger, tweets “It means new “high-speed serving packages” for your small business, aka “pay us another $400/mo if you want your website to stay up during the holidays.” The internet may soon start to look like entertainment packages; similar to purchasing cable and satellite television packages.

Regulated internet has open internet but at the cost of more money. The new ‘light touch’ regulated internet will allow ISPs to make the internet a more profitable place via micro-transactions, internet bundles, and entertainment packages. According to Business Insider, anti-regulated internet advocates argue that a regulated internet “model is dangerous because it risks creating a two-tier system that harms competition–people will just use the big-name apps included in the bundles they pay for, while upstart challengers will be left out in the cold.” Big business ISPs are essentially monopolizing the internet.

The advantage to regulated internet is that ISPs can make the internet a more profitable place. The internet as we know it will become more like cable and less like a network that weaves our lives together. While the disadvantage of regulated internet is that Americans will have to pay even more money to access the content and data speeds they want. In a scenario like this, if a Hulu customer opts for a bundle package that has Google Search Engine, Facebook, and Netflix, a consumer may choose to leave Hulu for Netflix because they don’t want to pay for two separate packages. Where does that leave Hulu?

The internet is a free place and always has been, and to some, discarding net neutrality threatens their God-given rights. At this point, the FCC has opened Pandora’s Box, except in this technological scenario, lovers of internet freedom aren’t going to go down without a fight. In fact, New York Attorney General Schneiderman says, “he will lead a multi-state lawsuit in an attempt to stop the repeal of net neutrality.”

Understanding net neutrality is not over. This controversial issue is just getting started. The FCC’s repeal of net neutrality must still go through Congress and a slew of pushback from advocates, protesters, and the public.

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3 to 2 vote to repeal net neutrality sparks controversy and confusion among Americans: Do you understand the advantages and disadvantages?