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Net Neutrality Is Gone

Danan Mbozi, Staff Writer

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Recently the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed net neutrality, the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should enable access to all content and applications without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. Among most people it is widely considered a negative thing. In theory, ISPs can now charge extra for certain services. Because Verizon owns Yahoo, which has its own search engine, Verizon could potentially decide to make your Yahoo pages load faster than your Google pages by default. If you wanted them to load at the same speed, they could potentially make you have to pay extra. This would be the same in other areas as well. For example, companies could create “packages” like they do on TV. There would be a certain price for the social media package, the gaming package, the sports package etc. ISPs would also be allowed to block certain content from appearing at all. Despite promising their customers that they would still follow net neutrality rules, soon after net neutrality’s repeal Comcast changed their message. In 2014 their message had been:

 

COMCAST IS COMMITTED TO A FREE AND OPEN INTERNET.

Here is what we mean when we say that:

  • Comcast supports Net Neutrality. We are the only Internet Service Provider in America legally bound by full Net Neutrality Rules. We support the FCC’s efforts to craft strong, enforceable Open Internet rules.
  • Comcast won’t block access to lawful content.
  • Comcast won’t throttle back the speed at which content comes to you.
  • Comcast doesn’t prioritize Internet traffic or create paid fast lanes.
  • Comcast’s Internet Essentials will make the Internet more accessible to low income families.
  • Comcast will inspire innovation, promote learning, create access to jobs.

An Open Internet with access for all. That’s what we’re for.

 

Over the years, they removed their support of net neutrality from their page, but kept their support of the tenants of net neutrality. Currently, it reads:

 

Comcast is committed to an Open Internet.

  • We do not block, slow down or discriminate against lawful content.
  • We believe in full transparency in our customer policies.
  • We are for sustainable and legally enforceable net neutrality protections for our customers

 

This is quite the difference and shows that ISPs are committed to what makes them the most money. If there was decent competition among ISPs the repeal of net neutrality would not be as big a deal to how we access the internet. In my area, I have one ISP. 46.1 million other households also only have one. And more than 10.6 million US homes have internet service with speeds of less than 25 Megabits per second. So if you dislike some of your ISPs practices you may have no other providers to choose from. Additionally, the repeal of net neutrality destroys further competition. New tech startups that would otherwise bring quality entertainment or change to society might no longer be able to pay ISPs to have fast content reach consumers. For example, if Netflix had been unable to compete they would not have become the company that they are today.

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