The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal net neutrality regulations on Thursday, Dec. 14. Net neutrality is the principle that preserves our right to communicate freely online. Without it, internet service providers (ISPs) can regulate and discriminate against what content is posted online. Without net neutrality rules in place, ISPs can interfere with web traffic, and pick and choose what people are allowed to say and do online.
The Net Neutrality policies Americans are accustomed to today, have been in place since 2015. The FCC adopted policies that gave internet users very strong protections, such as access to all legal content, and freedom of speech. These Net Neutrality policies were based on ISPs being classified as common carriers under Title 2 of the Communications Act. This states that a common carrier offers its services to the general public under license or authority provided by a regulatory body. Now that Net Neutrality laws have been repealed, these regulations are now limited, and ISPs have more power to regulate what is posted online. Senior Dylan Dobson said, “I really don’t want to pay for entertainment that I can only find on the internet.” This is a genuine concern for some now that ISPs will be able to offer less services for more money. ISPs will now be able to block certain services they don’t want their consumers using. Comcast owns NBC Universal, which is a parent organization of the streaming service Hulu. This means if Comcast wanted to block its users from using Netflix, so they were more inclined to use Hulu, they could.
Net Neutrality is very important to internet users. Without Net Neutrality laws, it could become very hard for platforms to be found for; marketing, activism, entrepreneurship and more. The open internet is a vital part of the economy, which strengthens job growth and competition.
Although millions of Americans are outraged about the repeal of the Net Neutrality laws, some are not concerned with the change. Senior Samantha Martin said, “(I feel) apathetic. Net Neutrality wasn’t a thing before 2015, so I don’t think now that it is repealed there will be an issue now.” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai actually thinks this change will benefit consumers because ISPs will be able to provide a wider variety of services.
The FCC took this action to scrap the policies, despite the outcry of millions of Americans. Congress still has the power to overturn this decision. Below there is a link, that allows you to urge lawmakers to use a resolution of disapproval in order to overturn the repeal. This is a great way to take action against the repeal of Net Neutrality policies.