In these ever-advancing times, the internet has become an essential tool in the average person’s day-to-day. This tool, like many others, can benefit people on a monetary level. To prevent the abuse of this tool, certain laws and restrictions were put in place to strip the power of monetization of websites and internet speeds from the ISP’s (Internet Service Providers). Net neutrality is one of these restrictions, one many have taken for granted.
Net neutrality is an important rule, although many may not know what it is protecting the consumers from. Essentially, the rule is that ISP’s must treat all services on the internet equally with the same internet speeds. In 2005 and 2012, five attempts to pass bills in the U.S. Congress containing net neutrality provisions have failed. Each sought to stop ISPs from using various pricing models based on the users service quality level, or “tiered service”.
Net Neutrality finally passed in the second term of former President Barack Obama. In 2015, millions of activists pushed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt historic Net Neutrality rules that keep our internet free and open, allowing people to share and access information of their choice without interruption.
But this could change very soon.
On Dec 14 the FCC’s republican majority approved Ajit Pai’s (chairman of the FCC) plan to repeal our net neutrality against the outcry from millions of people, lawmakers, companies and public interest groups.
The open internet allows minorities and social groups to bypass traditional media gatekeepers. Without Net Neutrality, ISPs could block speech and prevent powerful voices from speaking freely online. Without Net Neutrality, there will be top tiered prices so people of lower class will lose a vital platform, silencing their voices, ridding them of their power.
But all is not lost.
We can still stop the FCC from getting rid of our net neutrality. Contact your local lawmaker to use a “resolution of disapproval” to overturn the FCC’s decision.