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Net Neutrality: Important Concept Still Unfamiliar to Many

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The issue of net neutrality, and whether or not it should be allowed to continue, has been the focus of politicians, tech companies, internet service providers and internet users recently.

However, many people who would be affected by the repeal of net neutrality are still unfamiliar with the term.

Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers must provide equal access to all web-content.

This means that internet service providers must not favor any content, or block any content from being accessed by their customers.

On Thursday, Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to get rid of net neutrality.

The FCC voted 3 to 2 to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order, which regulated net neutrality.

However, this does not necessarily mean that net neutrality will be repealed; there are still other steps that would need to be taken first.

Jaidyn Makos, a junior at Dimond, said, “I think that most people in this time period rely on the internet to get various information.

“If we get rid of net neutrality, it would be pretty problematic for both consumers and businesses.”

The FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, has strongly supported the repeal of net neutrality, and is one of the three commissioners who voted for the repeal.

CNN reported that chairman Pai presented the repeal of neutrality as a means to stop the government form “micromanaging the internet.”

Many individuals have taken to social media platforms like Reddit, Twitter and Tumblr to lobby their support for net neutrality and to encourage others to do the same.

According to the Washington Post, a survey from the University of Maryland reported that 83 percent of Americans currently oppose the repeal of net neutrality.

Kylie Negale, a junior at Dimond, said, “It could be the end of universal and fair access to the internet.”

The role the internet currently plays in many people’s daily lives is obvious.

Most students in the Anchorage School District regularly use the internet for research, use web-based programs like Google Apps and Canvas for school work, and use the website Q to check their grades.

The repeal of net neutrality could potentially make accessing these websites much harder for students and for teachers.

Without net neutrality, internet service providers could charge customers extra fees in order to access certain websites and services.

In doing this, providers could make packages of certain content, like cable TV bundles.

This would also allow internet service providers to favor content that they are associated with.

A provider that owns or is associated with one website might let customers use that website for free, while charging extra for or slowing down access to a competing site, or even blocking the site completely.

The biggest internet service providers, like Verizon and Comcast, would be allowed to dominate the internet, and make huge profits by doing it.

Jade Phillips, a junior at Service, said, “Net neutrality provides widespread access to the web for everyone, not only those who can pay [extra], by removing net neutrality we not only allow restriction of access to the web, [but] we allow restriction of access to information, [and] we deny citizens the right to liberty and access to information, which incase we forgot, is a core American value.

“Net neutrality is necessary to stay true to our American values.”

According to The New York Times, many big tech companies are still supporters of net neutrality, including Google, Apple, Amazon and Netflix.

Although, not all of these companies who have said they support net neutrality are going out of their way to defend it.

Before the regulation laws set in place in 2015, many companies already followed the principles of net neutrality, but this could change quickly if companies can make profits by ditching the principles of net neutrality.

Another issue the loss of net neutrality could bring about is damage to the smaller businesses and content creators of the internet.

The many small content creators would be dominated by big conglomerates that could afford to pay or team up with internet service providers to prioritize their content.

With small creators put on the back burner, those who were once able to make a living and career for themselves on the internet may be running out of luck.

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Net Neutrality: Important Concept Still Unfamiliar to Many