Most Americans don’t know what net neutrality is but, if you live in the 21st century, it most definitely will affect aspects of your life. In legal terms, net neutrality is the idea that all internet traffic should be treated equally – with no internet service provider (ISP) having the power to favor one source over another by blocking, throttling, or a means of paid prioritization. In simpler terms, this means that Comcast can’t block you from using the internet because Jim next door pays more than you do. Currently, telecommunications prices cover the same access for everyone and no one has more “internet privilege” than anyone else once you have access to wifi.
So how does net neutrality affect your life? If you use any sites like Google, Twitter, Facebook, or an email service, it means you don’t have to pay internet companies such as Verizon or Comcast a fee to use these sites. If you think about the number of sites and apps you use daily for school, research, work, or leisure, the costs can skyrocket if you have to pay all those fees to use them.
Currently, the Federal Communications Commision wants to abolish Net Neutrality and give broadband companies the power to charge you more as a customer and Congress will be voting on this measure on December 14th. This would strangle smaller websites, news websites, and information you share on the internet as well as it would cost you money and these small sites would have to compete with big media giants. Restriction of the flow of information, whether you like it or not, is dangerous to society and could potentially threaten the free speech you have on the internet.
If you don’t want Net Neutrality to be overturned, there are things you can do. Petitions against its repeal can be found on change.org and battleforthenet.com. You can also call your senators and tell them to vote against repeal. Information for contacting senators can be found at senate.gov/general/contacting. If you don’t want Net Neutrality to be repealed, make your voice heard!