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Net neutrality repealed: What this means for you

Ian Harvey, Staff Reporter
Originally published January 11, 2018


Net neutrality is the idea that all internet traffic should be treated equally by internet service providers (ISPs). Under this principle, ISPs are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific online content.

In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed open internet rules grounded in Title II authority, a classification that allows for more regulation, paving the way for further progress with net neutrality.

What’s happening to it?
With the election of Donald Trump and his appointment of former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai as FCC chairman, the government’s stance on these rules has flipped. The Trump administration has stated that it would move to jettison Obama-era net neutrality provisions.

Telecommunications companies like Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner have said they support net neutrality and an open internet, but their definition is different than most people’s.
On Dec. 14, 2017 in a 3-2 vote, the FCC moved to disband net neutrality provisions set forth in 2015.

In a defense of the move, Pai said, “We are helping consumers and promoting competition, and broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially to underserved areas.”

What this means for you
With the repeal of net neutrality provisions, ISPs will have the ability to block and/or charge for certain content. Apps like Netflix, Instagram and YouTube could all be blocked by cell phone providers in favor of a partner or proprietary app.

Students also stand to loose from this in that certain educational programs, like Khan Academy, which could also be blocked in favor of a proprietary alternative.

“Net neutrality protects the people from large corporations,” senior Casey Chamberlain said. “It ensures that all people can use the internet freely.”

Although there has been a massive amount of public uproar with 83 percent of all Americans opposing the repeal (University of Maryland Program for Public Consultation), there is still a lot of speculation about what these changes will look like.

Many ISPs have promised that their service will not change, but that is yet to be seen.

In an act of resistance, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer vowed to force a vote on the matter using the congressional review act. In addition to this, attorney generals from New York and Washington plan to sue the FCC in order to overturn the repeal.

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Net neutrality repealed: What this means for you