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Net neutrality is dead

FCC votes to kill Obama-era rules

In a little less than two weeks, the net neutrality rules that keep the internet a free and open market will cease to exist. On Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) voted to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality protections, and it is scheduled to take effect on April 23.

Photo: Madison Daley • The Sentry

In a long and overdrawn battle, the FCC ultimately declared that net neutrality is a direct action of the government working to “micromanage the internet,” and believes that the existing regulations “threaten broadband investments and innovation.” Despite the fact that the FCC will do away with rules that bar internet providers from blocking or slowing down access to online content, companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon will continue to expand their illustrious empires.

The FCC has also voted to eliminate a rule that blocks providers from prioritizing their own content. This means that there will be no competition between internet service providers and smaller companies will slowly start to dissipate. “With this deal everyone comes out as losers,” said business major Gabriella Pisani. “This isn’t the right decision because I won’t be paying extra to use services so companies lose out on sustaining  their business— it’s not fair.”

The FCC has ignored many public outcries and warning signs of why eliminating net neutrality could be a bad idea. While they await a lengthy list of legal battles when the rules (or no rules) take effect, they’re continuing to spread their efforts at the state level. As icing on the cake, the FCC is asserting its authority to prevent states from pursuing laws inconsistent with the net neutrality repeal. This is a direct counteract as more than 20 states have filed lawsuits against the commission and Senators across the nation are working to pass measures that would restore net neutrality rules within their borders. However, the consequence to these measures would soon find themselves facing an uphill battle where the new net neutrality rules will have the support of the House and President Trump. “It really sucks and I don’t know that much about net neutrality, so now I’m going to have to research and see how bad it might affect my everyday life,” said nursing major Rubina Strestha.

It’s too soon to say what might happen when the rules go into effect on April 23, but this vote will impact millions of people across the US if what people know about net neutrality is true. On the surface, the repeal of net neutrality will have a toll on not just individuals but companies and schools as well. Broadband providers will start to limit what people can access on the internet, charge them more to get to the sites and services they regularly use, and start slowing down their internet speeds in order to coerce them into paying a fee for faster speeds. Not only is this not financially feasible, but in a world where the internet is a public utility, it isn’t practical either.

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