Repealing Net Neutrality: Cons for Consumers
by Julia Gomez
Under President Obama, the FCC voted in favor of Net Neutrality in order to “keep the internet open and free.” On Thursday, Dec.14, 2017, the FCC, led by Ajit Pai, ended Net Neutrality. What is Net Neutrality? According to Mirriam-Webster it’s “The idea, principle, or requirement that Internet service providers should or must treat all Internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source, or destination.” To put it simply, internet providers can’t charge websites like Netflixmo
Any minute of the day one can open their internet browserand find out what’s going on in the world, hear or read the same story with different perspectives, even read stories that broad casting companies like Fox or CNN won’t run, but Vice or BBC News will. However, since internet providers are now allowed to choose which websites have an easier time connecting to our phones, the numerous choices we have gain information willsoon begin to decline.
Stars like Jimmy Kimmel and John Oliver, along with 83% of the American population, strongly opposed the repealing Net Neutrality. Despite the strong opinions of many regarding it, the FCC still voted (three to two) on repealing it. This not only affects streaming websites, it also affects artist whom use Instagram, twitter, Facebook, Etsy, and similar sites that utilisethe open internet and the various opportunities it offers to makea living. Artists like Alex Cohen, the creator of Tiny Snek Comics, and comedians like Mario Ramil depend on social media to display their creations.
“The internet isn't what it is because of ISPs, but as a result of the millions of artists and creators who rely on people having unburdened access to what they're making. Take that away, and it's going to look a lot more like cable - segmented beyond recognition and impossible for individuals to be successful on their own. I think any creator with an online following, regardless of their medium, has a responsibility to speak up in support of Net Neutrality, because it's truly not a political or partisan issue, it's about the future of the internet as we know it.”Cohen wrote me when asked for a statement.
Though the vast majority of those dependent of the internethave begun to fear the worst, Ramil stated this “Big companies are always trying to fuck over their consumers one way or another. All they care about is money. Artist especially have always dealt with situations like this in one form or another. One thing is for certain, whether it's online, on stage, or on the street- we will always express ourselves!”
Citizens are choosing to express themselves by calling their State’s Attorney General’s office and insist they join the multistate lawsuit against the FCC, started by New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. (Florida’s State Attorney General is Pam Bondi. Bondi has not announced any plans to join the multistate lawsuit. Her office’s phone number for Citizenship Services is 850-414-3990)
When “Net Neutrality” is typed into a search engine, many articles titled “Net neutrality Rules are Dead. Will My Bill Go Up?” from USA Today or “Net Neutrality Vote: What this means for consumers.”, from MinnPost pop up. People are scared their way of life is going to dramatically change. Many are limited to around two or three internet providers if they’re lucky. Once companies start raising their prices, those who can’t afford it might have regress back to a time without internet in their homes.
The number of social media users may soon begin to dwindle if providers begin to outrageously increase their prices.Pai can still tweet photos of his giant Reese’s Peanut Butter mug, but it’ll be in vain if Americans can no longer afford to log into their Twitter accounts.
Despite the cons this has for consumers, American citizens might agree the most troubling part of it all is the question no one has yet to answer. If 83% of the American population voiced their disapproval, why did the FCC still repeal Net Neutrality? Citizens actively signed petitions, called the leaders of their state’s government, as well directly calling the FCC. Despite the opposition met against the repealing of Net Neutrality, Pai, Brendan Carr, and Michael O'Reilly all voted for it. They ignored the voice of the people and chose the option companies like ATT and Comcast pushed for.