THE FIGHT FOR NET NEUTRALITY

JANUARY 18TH, 2017 | BY DEIDRE CURIEL

You like the internet right? The fact that every and any piece of information is literally at your fingertip is probably the most liberating thing about living in these times of the technology boom. So, what if I told you, that someone had an agenda to take away what we love about the internet? That feeling you just got in your stomach, yeah that’s anxiety, so let that be of motivation to you to read this entire article to help prevent this from happening.

 

Republican Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is doing everything in his power to repeal everything you love about the internet. He was sworn into office in January 2017 by none other than, yeah you guessed it, Donald Trump. For about eleven months now, Pai has planned to completely tear apart Obama’s Net Neutrality protection plan implemented by the FCC. These rules stop big corporations, such as, AT&T, Verizon etc from blocking any content on the internet, prohibits them to slow down online connections and so much more.

A little more background on Mr. Pai, he served as an attorney for Verizon Communications around 2001. After leaving the company in 2003, he worked a few jobs with the United States Senate, and between 2007-2011 served in several positions on the FCC board. Pai has done just about the most convince the Senate that the internet should be regulated. He has even criticized Netflix, claiming that their open connect programs creates more ‘traffic’.

 

Ajit pretty much goes on and on in his letter on why we should gut Net Neutrality, and attempts to feed us a bunch of condescending rhetoric on how the internet would feel ‘freer’ and more ‘open’ if we charged consumers for better service, reception and access to anything we truly want at all. He also states that it would help broadband providers to ‘compete’ in reference to their consumers. To sum all of this up for everyone, Ajit is attempting to profit off of the fact that Verizon is one of the top companies in support of ridding the actual free internet so they can charge consumers EVEN MORE for faster, more efficient, internet service.

On December 14, 2017, the FCC was put to a vote regarding whether or not they would repeal Net Neutrality. Unfortunately, the only two who voted against this notion, was commissioner, Mignon Clyburn and American lawyer Jessica Resenworcel. Can i just say, that women are truly incredible and magical? The only members on the board that thought out what ridding the free and open internet would actually do to the middle class, are, yeah you guessed it, ladies. A memorable moment that resonates with, I’m assuming, pretty much everyone, was commissioner Clyburn’s speech:

Mrs. Resenworcel also had words of her own to share with us all:

So at this point, we all know Ajit Pai is in favor of rolling back the Net Neutrality laws and regulations. It was up to Commissioners: Brendan Carr and  Michael O’Reilly, on whether or not the FCC was either, not in favor or in favor of getting rid of the free internet once and for all. If you’re still wondering, both of them voted hand in hand with Pai for a total of a 2-3 vote on repealing Net Neutrality.

Now this is the part that really matters, the past is in the past and there is nothing we can do to change it. The fight to keep the internet open and honest is still intact and it is not over. But i do want everyone to know how serious this actually is. The plan is to sell the internet in packages or plans, just like phone services. For example, you can have a plan to include Netflix, Google, Twitter for, I don’t know, let's say 39.99 a month, ok? However, what is the actual point in having google, if the websites you come across are not included in your plan? You will be charged, per website, that is not included in your package, and you know what’s even scarier, there are pages that they plan to block so that you longer have access to that information.

 

Not only that, but bloggers, small businesses, students, musicians, WILL ALL BE AFFECTED. Consumers will be less likely to visit a vlog/blog page, if your internet provider charges too much for access or decides if you need access to their pages at all. Small business owners will have to pay an even more amount to keep up their websites and consumers, customers will be charged a fee for even wanting to roam around. Students will have to pay search fees for websites they need to utilize that may not be included in their ‘plans’ and struggling musicians are less likely to be exposed once the internet limits what you get to see and starts charging for access to even check out their music.

The worries and struggles we would have without open internet are endless. I know that we were just fine before the internet, trust me im aware we once lived in a time where there was not such a demand for online utilities, but times have changed. So many people have built their lives and incomes around their internet use. As someone who struggles with mental illness, it helps to explore the internet for basic information and coping mechanisms on how to make it through the day and I know there are so many other people like me. So the fight continues and you guys, contact your local congressman and write them on how and why the free and open internet is so important to you.

 

The final decision is up to the Senate on whether or not the internet should remain the way it is. There are so many states already going into legal battle on why Net Neutrality is so important: New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, to name a few. In a Country where it claims to be a ‘Democracy’, it sure seems as though a certain group of people have a HUGE say on how the rest of us will live... 

Deidre Curiel is a CUSITEMUSIC.com Blogger out of Chicago

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