FCC to vote on net neutrality



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Anyone who has been online within the past few weeks has heard about the controversy surrounding net neutrality. The FCC, under the leadership of Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC announced that the vote will happen on December 14. It is widely expected to pass.

The issue with net neutrality is not new.

Net neutrality is the idea that all internet traffic has to be treated the same by your isp, or internet service provider. Service providers have to deliver the internet equally without charging more to visit websites or block other websites. Without net neutrality, internet service providers can create slow or fast lanes. Essentially they will be able to slow down websites that belong to their competitors, or block websites that sip may disagree with. Providers cannot speed up other websites if the websites pay more money. Creating fast lanes is a practice that experts say will damage start ups, as they won’t be able to compete against larger companies. Net neutrality prevents those issues, and the internet in the United States has been operating open since it appeared.

Groups that are pro net neutrality argue that without net neutrality, internet service providers will have power to control user rights, such as freedom of speech. By blocking websites and slowing down others, they can effectively interfere with freedom of speech.  Groups have also stated that if net neutrality is removed, the internet can begin to look like internet from other countries where the internet is generally expensive to have. Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon can begin to bundle the internet, much like the way cable companies bundle cable packages. Currently the internet is open, and all legal content is accessible unrestricted to the user. Internet activist are urging to call your representative, before the vote happens on December 14.

Opponents of net neutrality argue that net neutrality is an overreach from the government. Opponents say abolishing net neutrality will provide an initiative for internet service providers to invest more in their companies, and will thus allow more competition. Thus abolishing net neutrality will open the road for more innovation. It will give smaller internet providers a chance to grow.

The FCC’s decision to roll back net neutrality rules have not gone unchallenged. According to Battlefortheinternet.net, there have been over 800,000 calls to congress to stop the FCC from rolling back net neutrality. Hundreds of protests took place at various Verizon locations around the country to protest net neutrality on December 7. Pai was previously a lawyer for Verizon.

23 million comments were filled to the FCC to express views of net neutrality. The FCC however says millions where faked using fake names. Currently the FCC is investigating this issue. The agency states that if your name is on the list of comments, resubmit a statement that accurately reflects your view.



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