Social media is abuzz with talk of net neutrality. The FCC, if you ask most people, has overstepped its bounds this time. And this is an opinion piece, so let’s jump right into my opinion. Net neutrality is essential to American society. There are people I’ve seen on the political right who don’t want the government to regulate the Internet, but I don’t think that they understand the core of the issue. We cannot let the big Internet corporations win this fight. They want to have free reign over the Internet without the federal government being able to step in and tell them to back off. “But the free market,” people cry. The free market doesn’t work when companies have a near monopoly, or a total monopoly, in many areas of the country.
We, the American people, absolutely cannot trust any corporations to act in our best interests. Their interests are their bottom line and their companies. The only way the citizens of America factor into those equations is when they calculate how much money they can get out of us.
I spend a lot of time online. Probably too much, if I’m honest. As a college student, a hefty portion of that is related to school and work. Not all of it, but enough that without certain websites and apps, I wouldn’t be able to work or finish my degree. Without net neutrality, it is all too easy for ISPs to throttle or deny whichever websites they please.
A scenario that is often presented on Reddit and Facebook puts forward the concept of “packages.” You pay a certain amount in order to be able to access social media websites. Another package might have video streaming websites, another might have gaming, another news, and so on and so forth. The end result is that not only are people paying for a basic Internet connection, but also for whichever parts of the Internet they want to access. This is completely against the principles on which the Internet was created, and only serves to put more money in the pockets of giant corporations at the expense of the people.
The FCC is clearly not interested in what the people want, and Ajit Pai is only looking to line his pockets with money from ISP lobbyists. Since money seems to be the only thing that gets the attention of the corporations and their lackeys, it’s up to the American people to make their voices heard in the government and with their wallets.