Net Neutrality: What It Actually Is

The FCC officially voted to repeal Net Neutrality on December 14th, and many people are not thrilled with their decision. However, what people truly perceive about Net Neutrality is not what it actually is. In fact, many people in HF do not even know what it is in general.

Net Neutrality was first put into effect during the Obama administration on February 26th, 2015. Yes, Net Neutrality is only two years old. We have lived for a long time without it, and truly, the world wouldn’t change that much without it.

Everyone is scared about “losing the internet” if Congress repeals Net Neutrality. Losing the internet as a whole, will never be a possibility due to the current state of our nation. Majority of the country, and world use the internet in some form, which makes it pretty impossible to get rid of it without society suffering.

In a few interviews that have been conducted, students were asked if net neutrality worried them at all. Sophomore, Tori Lanner, said, “There really shouldn’t be any arguments or questions here; the internet is a free place which all should be able to enjoy without worrying about a price.” Many people also agree that putting a price on the internet takes away the whole purpose of it being an easy access to free information.

A junior, Lukas Nikolic, said, “It doesn’t worry me completely because for the moment the companies that benefit from net neutrality are not doing anything with it.” Companies have yet to do anything about the FCC’s personal repeal of net neutrality, but once it gets to Congress, only then will it be the determining factor of what will happen to the internet.

Lastly, on the same subject, a freshman, Alex Bayer said, “We've essentially removed all limits that were once in place. This allows ISP's to do whatever they want, without regulations. This has the potential to be very bad.” It is this bad potential that increases fear in many people who do not want the internet to have a price tag on it.

Of course, the internet itself does not always share the right information. Without a correct source or a trustworthy person who did their research, no one really knows how met meutrality full works. Thankfully, a twitter user did and took his time to create a thread of tweets fully explaining net neutrality to those who did not quite get it.

This user, @RealMikeM, simplified it for people to hopefully better understand it. He basically details that the main “battle” per-se that is net neutrality is between two companies: ISPs and CPs. ISPs, are Internet Service Providers, and CPs, which are Content Providers. ISPs are things like AT&T or Verizon, which are companies that you pay to get internet. CPs are apps like Instagram or Snapchat which is where your daily entertainment comes from.

He also says, “Content providers must go through ISPs to get their content to the people.” This means that they also have to pay the ISPs in order for them to show their content so they can bring in money. The whole controversy between them is how larger companies (Snapchat, Instagram, or YouTube for example) use up majority of the world’s bandwidth while smaller providers such as Wikipedia gets only a small portion. This makes a huge difference to how many views something gets, and how much revenue they could be taking in.

Net neutrality makes it so ISPs can’t charge CPs, so that those sites won’t be slowed down. This makes it much worse for sites that can’t afford to pay if they get slowed or blocked entirely. So, the point of it makes it so internet service providers cannot show favoritism to larger content providers and what they post. They must stay neutral.

It sounds more like George Washington and James Monroe wanting to stay neutral when it comes to waging war or political affairs and how other government officials refuse to listen. It really is interesting how history manifests itself.

According to Axios.com, Montana has become the first state to add net neutrality rules after the repeal by the FCC. The writer of this article, Khorri Atkinson, states, “Bullock is the first governor in the country to make such a move a month after the FCC rolled back net neutrality rules.” This allows for so many opportunities for other states to jump on this initiative.

Theoretically, if other states allow net neutrality laws to pass into their state governments, with enough states doing so, there would be absolutely no point for the FCC to repeal net neutrality in the first place.

Steve Bullock, the governor of Montana states, “Any city or state can do this.” He is clearly encouraging other state governments to back his work toward net neutrality being unrepealable.

Hopefully as time goes on Congress will choose as they did in the past and not allow the repeal of net neutrality, but until then we will have to be left with many questions as to what will happen next.