The Internet has Been Freed

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The internet has been freed. On Dec. 14, 2017 the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) voted 3-2 to repeal Net Neutrality. The bill still has to pass through both Congress and The Supreme Court, but the decision has already been met with both joy and outrage by people across the nation.

Net Neutrality has become a topic of debate in the past few months, and there has been lots of misinformation spreading around.

Net neutrality is basically saying that Internet Service Providers (ISP) have to treat all data the same. They can’t slow down a website just because of the type of content it displays, and they also have to charge the same prices for everyone. With the repeal of net neutrality, the internet is now a virtual “wild west.” Companies are competing with each other for the best service, but no matter who ends up on top, there is only one guaranteed winner: the people of America. Eventually, the people will get the best service because ISP will always need customers.

Some of the concerns surrounding the FCC vote are legitimate, but the vast majority aren’t. First off ISP can’t slow down websites. Though legally it is in their power to do so, from a business and a public image perspective, that would be disastrous. If word got out that an ISP was intentionally slowing down websites, massive crowds of people would leave for a better provider. While ISP battle to offer the best internet services, companies like Disney or Netflix battle over what they stream. Companies that formerly had no competition now have to enter a bidding war, whoever offers the best service for the lowest price wins. Since the decision of the FCC was announced Disney has bought 21st Century Fox and announced a plan to make a streaming service to directly compete with Netflix. Verizon has announced that it will be expanding its broadband. This is what the repeal of net neutrality means. It is directly competing against monopolies and it hasn’t even been implemented yet.
Finally, net neutrality isn’t something that has been integral to the internet since its infancy. Congress passed a bill in 2015 that implemented net neutrality. The simple fact is that not much changed when it became a reality. There is no reason to believe that changing back will impact us.

The debate over net neutrality has sparked a lot of controversy. It’s not a clear cut issue. It doesn’t follow party lines and it’s hard to tell what information is just fear mongering and what is legitimate.