Kelly Kall

Net Neutrality, Do Students Care?

Abram Hansen, Staff Writer

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In just a few days the internet as most know it could change. The FCC will vote to overturn to current regulations mandating that internet service providers treat all data the same. Do students care?

Earlier this year chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Ajit Pie proposed a plan to roll back the Net Neutrality regulations set in place during the Obama administration. These regulations require that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T treat all data the same, and to not throttle (slow down), block, or discriminate against certain websites, or make websites pay for a faster connection.

Understandably this has become a highly controversial topic recently as the FCC is set to vote on the new regulation December 14th.

Ajit Pai has stated, “In 2015, the prior FCC bowed to pressure from President Obama. On a party-line vote, it imposed heavy-handed, utility-style regulations upon the Internet. That decision was a mistake. It’s depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation,”

That is the question. Should the Internet be regulated like a utility, or as a service like cable? Ajit Pai said he believes that because of competition, there will be no throttling or discrimination. Those in favor of net neutrality believe this is not true because, like a utility, there is often only one provider of internet to a community.

In a world where teenagers spend hours online every day, do they know about this controversy and do they care?

Student Matt Jonas, a junior, definitely has and gives some strong opinions on it. He said in an interview, “Net neutrality is a great thing to have, but taking it away is idiotic. It’s a way for people to line their pockets. (referring to ISPs)”

Another reason removing net neutrality is controversial is that some say it violates first amendment rights. If ISPs can block certain information, does that violate the freedom of the press and/or freedom of speech? When asked about this Matt said, “It depends on what sites they bock, but either way it’s just not good.”

Quite a few students however, seem to have never heard of net neutrality.

Sophomore Miguel Davis had no idea what it was when being interviewed. After learning about it he said, “I think it’s kind of stupid that they could slow certain sites down and let others speed up.”

A lot of students have never heard about net neutrality, yet many care about it once it is explained to them. This could also reflect what is happening with the general public. Do people even know about a huge controversy that could potentially change their lives? 

 

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