FCC repeals net neutrality

Thomas Zemene (left) and Miranda Anders (right) look on in horror at the net neutrality changes
Photo by Gio Dang

On 14 Dec. 2017 the Federal Communications Commission voted to remove regulations  preventing internet providers from blocking websites or charging for better service and certain content. The effects of this are yet to be seen, but RAHS students are not hopeful about what this means for the internet.

Sophomore Thomas Zemene, an avid web-surfer, feels the changes to net neutrality will be detrimental to his enjoyment of the internet.

“They’re good for big internet companies to make money and charge us on all the services we use individually,” said Zemene, “but for a consumer like me who tends to do a lot of things with the internet, it sounds pretty bad considering they can control it now.”

Zemene fears the financial aspect of company filtered internet services, and how it would affect his family’s ability to access the internet in a reasonable way.

“Considering we already pay a lot of money for internet, really fast internet, paying more money for additional services, like access to streaming sites and games and whatnot, I think that would suck a lot,” said Zemene, “and it would be a financial burden on my family.”

Sophomore Miranda Anders believes revoking net neutrality violates her constitutional rights.

“The fifth amendment is not just ‘freedom to not talk’ it goes much deeper. The fifth amendment states, ‘…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property…’ as well as, ‘…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation,’” said Anders. “I consider having to pay [more] for access to my online information to make me ‘deprived of life’ in a way. I do think that killing net neutrality is a violation of my fifth amendment, as well as many more.”

Anders is in support of a free internet because of its ability to connect users to the rest of the world.

“A lot of arguments have attacked the fact that the internet only allows people to focus on their phones rather than what is around them, but that idea cannot be supported,” said Anders. “Internet [enables] us to know what is going on anywhere at anytime within seconds.”

Anders used various resources to attempt to sway the issue in her favor.

“As far as fighting back, I have emailed Ajit Pai, Michael O’Rielly, and Brendan Carr, the members of the FCC voting against net neutrality,” said Anders. “People can still contact their senators, representatives, and the FCC through phone calls and emails.”

The adjustment period to get accustomed to a changed internet will be difficult for Anders.

“I don’t think any student wants to deal with no internet, no matter their stance,” said Anders. “To go from a life revolved around media, technology, and everything at such a fast pace, it will be very painful for us to adjust. Online shopping, gaming, and messaging will [cost] considerably more, and I can’t imagine anyone asking for that.”

Anders felt frustration at the lack of outcry from her peers. She believes this is a very serious issue and requires advocacy from a large population of people to make a change.

“From what I have heard they are not outraged enough,” said Anders. “I get it, we have tons of schoolwork, but what is at hand is much greater than many people believe.”

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