Many of us take the Internet for granted. It is a place used to open communications, exchange ideas and share the latest meme. However, this could all change come Dec. 14.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants to pass a plan which would overturn net neutrality. Net neutrality is simply the idea that all media and media content should be treated the same. This means internet providers cannot discriminate or charge extra based off user, platform, website and so on.
If the FCC overturns net neutrality it would allow for internet providers to charge customers differently based on their internet usage or even block content from competitors.
This is a disservice to internet users across the country. Not only would this make it more expensive to post funny cat videos, but borders dangerously on infringement of the First Amendment.
Broadband services can decide what users can see and what services they can access. This can open doors for censorship, something all people should be wary of. In a world of political polarization this can begin the slippery slope of political censorship which violates the First Amendment since the internet is a place to peaceably assemble, much like a rally in real life.
It also poses an information gap among different classes. The wealthy could afford to unlock all of the internet. The middle and lower classes, however? Not so much. It’s like a smaller version of the digital divide we see among different countries. The wealthier countries, such as the United States, with readily accessible internet outperform the countries without it, such as Ethiopia. This would disrupt the economy as many people wouldn’t be qualified for jobs. It would also cause poorer websites and internet companies to go under, wiping out even more jobs.
It would also impact college life. The internet and computer access has become an important staple in a college student’s life. From using Northwest Online to turn in assignments to Google Drive to write essays, many students rely on the internet to be productive in their daily lives. Even student programs such as 106.7 KZLX or KNWT Channel 8 could be affected. Not only do we use this for homework, but it would also affect Netflix binges as people procrastinate on said homework.
You already pay for Netflix, but what if you had to pay $10 more a month? Imagine having to pay $5 to use Google or Youtube. It would be another $5 for news sources such as BBC or The New York Times. It could become an unfortunate reality.
It could also affect the cost of college. As places of learning it would be logical to assume they would pay the extra money for students to access the World Wide Web. Where would this money come from? Like most schools, it’d be part of tuition, and could be the deciding factor for students debating on attending college.
These are just a few reasons to keep the internet free. Even if the only reason someone uses the internet is to google memes of koala bears, we shouldn’t have to pay extra to do so. No matter your political leanings, one thing we can agree on: no person or company should control our internet content or access. We can’t stay neutral on the topic of net neutrality.