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The Green Pride

Net Neutrality and why it matters

Ella Haden, Staff Reporter

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The internet has become such a big part of our lives that the words net neutrality hasn’t come up until recent years. Most people can’t even think of a time where they had to pay to visit their favorite sites based on what Wi-Fi plan they picked.

Net Neutrality was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003 to be the idea that Wi-Fi providers will treat all websites the same without additional purchases. Sadly, the fight for net neutrality has started.

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed the plan that would move the internet to be under Title I. Currently the internet is under Title II, which blocks any violation of net neutrality. By moving it to Title I, they are allowed to let Wi-Fi providers take away the internet freedoms we are used to.

In 2015, the FCC was pressured by millions of activists to adopt the net neutrality laws. The Trump Administration has said that net neutrality is the next policy to go since it is an Obama era law.

The FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, believes by letting the Wi-Fi providers make their own rules, the free market will decide which company is the best. The only way this would work is if places had many different company choices, but that isn’t the case.

Statistics from the FCC even show that only 30 percent of Americans have access to just one Wi-Fi provider. Another 37 percent of Americans only have two Wi-Fi providers to pick from. That means more than half of Americans have little choice on their Wi-Fi provider.

Pai’s argument against net neutrality is completely invalid based on the statistics his own company provided. The only way Pai’s statement would work is if Americans had three or more choices which only makes up 33 percent.

Without net neutrality, websites like Youtube, Netflix, Instagram may not be available unless you pay an additional fee. Wi-Fi providers also have the option to block things if people talk about topics they don’t deem are right.

According to the FCC, companies like AT&T and Verizon have already been caught violating the net neutrality laws. AT&T was limiting Facetime apps so only certain phone plans could access it. Verizon was slowing down Netflix and Youtube, although they tried to say it was because of network testing. These same companies also have said they support Pai’s plan.

Congress will vote for net neutrality on Dec. 14. Using websites such as https://www.battleforthenet.com can help your voice be heard to fight against Pai’s plan.

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The student news site for De Soto High School Journalism.
Net Neutrality and why it matters