By: Michael Hall
First off, let’s answer the question, “What is Net Neutrality?” Net neutrality is the principle that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) cannot block content, slow content, nor speed up content for companies. Furthermore, ISPs cannot unwillingly slow your internet and make you pay extra in order to have the internet speeds you originally agreed to pay for. Net Neutrality was recently instituted in 2015 by former President Barack Obama to prevent these practices. You may be thinking, “Oh, slower internet. I don’t really care.” Well, it’s not just going to be slower internet. With the new rules the FCC has planned to vote on, ISPs have complete control. While the old net neutrality rules prevented the aforementioned practices, the new rules are simply poorly enforced “guidelines” which ISPs can ignore without any consequences. One new practice ISPs may follow is forcing you to pay to use your favorite free websites. That’s right, make you pay for free websites. And it just doesn’t stop there. ISPs will have the power to make you pay to access any content that requires internet access. If you’re still not getting it, picture it this way. You get home from school, ready to watch something on Netflix. You find you need to pay an extra 20 dollars monthly to access it. No big deal, you already pay monthly to use Netflix, but you just can’t pay now, so you might watch YouTube videos. As you open up Google, you find that you need to pay 20 dollars monthly in order to access YouTube, a free website. As you desperately try to find something to do, you decide to play a video game. Nope, that’s another 20 dollars you have to pay if you want to connect to the servers. If the FCC institutes these new guidelines, ISPs will have the power to do that and more. As of December 5, the vote to destroy net neutrality was 3-2, in favor of its destruction. So what can you do to stop this? You can visit www.battleforthenet.com for information on protests, a letter to send to congress, a script to what to say when you call your congressman, and more. The internet can only stay free if we make it.