Opinion: Repealing net neutrality will be the end to a free and open internet

The Federal Communication Commission’s repeal vote will take place Dec. 14


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Andrew Fraieli, Contributing Writer

“If you’re not freaking the fuck out about net neutrality right now, you aren’t paying attention.”

Not only has this sentence in general been plastered all around the internet, but I hadn’t looked further into net neutrality other than a curious interest until I started to write this piece. Then I proceeded to freak the fuck out. After talking to ten students around campus I also realized that other students are not sufficiently freaking out either, only three had heard of the term beforehand.

Net Neutrality for those who have been living under a digital rock is the idea that ISPs — internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast — cannot slow down certain websites in favor of others, block websites, or have websites pay them to load faster than others as better described by Battleforthenet.com. This creates a neutral battleground for all people on the internet, letting that amatuer ball-busting porn website and blog with just photos of cats and bread load just as fast as Facebook and Google.

What the Federal Communications Committee (FCC or the assholes that won’t let you swear on public radio or have nudity on public cable) are voting on Dec. 14 is taking away that neutrality. If this happens, the only people who benefit are the ISPs. Not businesses in general, ONLY the ISPs. They would have complete control over what websites you can access, how fast they load, and more. Your ISP would literally have censorship control over the internet you see. Did I mention that the current chair of the FCC, Ajit Pai, is a former lawyer for Verizon?

If you haven’t been living under a digital rock you’ve probably heard this name and the memes to go along with it. Most of the issues the internet has with Pai, besides he’s trying to tear down net neutrality, is his connections with ISPs. John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight explains this fact telling that he worked at Verzion and not only that, ……..

What does this dystopian internet future look like?

Imagine having to pay for use of certain websites like you pay for channels on cable, “Oh you want to stream Netflix? Well besides your charge to have Netflix you need to pay for our entertainment package to be able to access the website.” Yeah. And that will happen for Facebook, Pornhub, Reddit and every other popular website you enjoy.

What easily could happen as well? Them simply blocking content from your internet that they don’t like. Nothing would stop Comcast from not letting Verizon’s website load and vice versa.

“But,” you may ask, “what about all the not obscenely rich websites I enjoy all the time like breadedcats.com and accidentalchinesehipsters.tumblr.com?”

Well, all those smaller blogs and websites? They’ll be drowned faster than they can write an article complaining about it. There is no way they’d be able to pay an ISP the money to keep them loading as fast as they do now for users.

Verizon, AT&T and Comcast would be essentially banking on people’s impatience and short attention span to get these major websites like Google to pay them obscene amounts of money to load fast. How many times have you exited out of watching a gif because it took too long to load? Or a youtube video? Or a website? If people were patient creatures it wouldn’t affect anything, at least that aspect. But we aren’t. So it dramatically will.

All small businesses or those self-employed writers who write creative original content will be gone, unable to afford to keep up with paying an ISP, multiple ISPs if its an internationally read website, and all creative competition in the market gone.

An interesting aspect to consider as well is how it could change a student’s study habits. When I asked Sophomore marketing major Norma — who prefered to not give her last name — had no idea what net neutrality was. After a brief explanation she said, “My EVERY habit would change.” Senior Finance major Arthur — who prefered the same — was also unaware of more than the name said, “People already don’t like to study, what’s going to happen when we have to pay to access studying resources?”


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Andrew Fraieli is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email him at [email protected].