Elissa Kim Marymount HS 10th Grade
On Thursday December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to effectively kill net neutrality put in place by the Obama administration back in 2015. Net neutrality rules essentially prevented internet providers, such as AT&T and Comcast, from blocking and stopping internet traffic and offering paid fast lanes. These rules gave equal access to all web content without charging consumers for higher-quality websites or better service to certain websites. How does this change the internet?
Many people argue that if the rules get repealed, broadband providers will start to sell the internet in “bundles.” Consumers would be required to pay for a certain social media package to get on the sites they want. This change further concentrates wealth and power in the hands of large companies while removing the mass economic interests of the American people.
Another major concern is that consumers could suffer from pay-to-play deals. Without net neutrality, fast lanes on the internet could be occupied by big internet and media companies, and affluent households, while everyone else would be on the slow lane.
Net neutrality affects small business owners as they believe large companies or competitors could pay to block these start-up businesses and leave them on an unfair playing field. Without net neutrality, the ability for new companies to enter the marketplace will be extremely difficult, essentially limiting the pace of innovation.
Net neutrality is crucial for communities of color since the open internet allows for people of color and other marginalized communities to have a platform in which they can organize for racial justice and bring awareness to their stories. However, without net neutrality, ISPs could censor their speech and prevent voices from being heard online. This issue would allow for these communities to be misrepresented, ignored, or unheard even further and reverse the process toward awareness and equality.
Although net neutrality has been repealed, advocate groups, members of Congress, and everyday citizens are fighting to create a more progressive and less restrictive internet.
<Elissa Kim Marymount HS 10th Grade