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Need Help Understanding Net Neutrality?

Autumn Smith, Reporter

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On December 14, a council of five Federal Communications Council (FCC) members voted whether or not a series of internet regulations established in February of 2015, called net neutrality, should be repealed. In the end, the vote passed three to two and moved to the next stage of legislation.

Net neutrality is the idea that all internet service providers must provide everyone with equal access to all websites and content on the internet.

For a more in-depth explanation of net neutrality, watch this video.

You have likely heard a lot about why net neutrality is bad or good, but like any argument there are two sides to each story.

Those for net neutrality argue that it ensures that all people can access any kind of content on the internet without fear of having to pay more money to their service providers.

Another positive of net neutrality is that it protects the free speech of United States citizens by keeping service providers from blocking websites they do not agree with.

Say Comcast decides they do not approve of the pro-choice movement, without net neutrality, the company could effectively block all pro-choice websites to keep their customers from viewing them.

While they cannot literally block the website, they can prioritize other web traffic, which would slow the ability to reach other websites.

Basically, it is “the idea of paid prioritization — the concept that a telecommunications company could charge an additional fee to transport certain forms of content at a higher speed through its network,” said the Los Angeles Times.

Every consumer has a custom internet experience. They decide what content they view, how they view it, and what content is worth their time. Under net neutrality this will remain the norm.

Without net neutrality, businesses will have the opportunity to pay service providers an additional cost to ensure that their content reaches consumers using high speed. This means that small and medium businesses that cannot afford the additional cost will lose business to these much larger companies.

On this topic, Investopedia said, “The providers could selectively pick which companies should get access to high-speed internet, and how much they should pay, which could be devastating for the streaming industry.”

With the positives of keeping net neutrality, also come positives of repealing this set of internet regulations.

One of the positives of repealing net neutrality is that it will create more jobs, because there will likely be the creation of more internet service providers who will need to hire employees. In addition, existing companies will need more employees to monitor speed and prioritize services.

Without net neutrality, service providers can slow the internet speeds of much more popular websites, sending consumers to less popular websites to receive their content. This will decrease monopolies and promote competition.

A company like Comcast could slow the internet speed for big streaming websites like Netflix to encourage consumers to use lesser known streaming websites like Dailymotion.

This increase in competition will force companies to come up with new, creative products and advertising techniques, refreshing the world of the internet.

“Unregulated business will eventually yield innovation and help the economy,” said the New York Times.

A significant reason that many people want to repeal net neutrality is the government would not be involved in the internet. People believe that it is not the government’s place to regulate the internet.

On the president of the FCC, Ajit Pai’s position, Investopedia said, “Pai — who warned against net-neutrality in 2015 — argues that high-speed internet service should not be treated like a public utility and be regulated like it is now, and that the industry should police itself.”

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Need Help Understanding Net Neutrality?