The Paw Print

The Free Internet

Jay Park, Web Editor

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  The Internet as we know it is at stake. Big name Internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast, Verizon and Spectrum are working together to create a monopoly of Internet services. But most of us haven’t even recognized how dangerous this takeover could be. Our current Internet we take for granted may become a corporate pay-to-use business.

  Net Neutrality is based on a concept of undiscriminated data. Whether or not you are visiting webpages or downloading terabytes of videos, both are treated equally, meaning both cost the same. Of course this doesn’t fly well with some of the ISPs. If you’ve noticed, many of them are cable providers who charge unnecessarily expensive prices for cable services and plans. Now that televisions are slowly becoming obsolete, these ISPs need another way to make money.

  ISPs are targeting what is called Title II, a set of legislations that specifically enforce the open Internet. In an open Internet, access to specific websites aren’t favored . By repealing Title II and taking over the Internet, this coalition will be able to have total control over how we use the Internet.

  Similar to how our cellular data is limited to data plans, we will be forced to pay ridiculous prices for the stable Internet we already have. Otherwise the ISPs will slow our connection to a crawl, rendering it useless until we pay premium. ISPs profit off of other companies as well. In order for a company to have a stable Internet connection in the first place, they must pay off the respective ISP to guarantee a bearable speed. Companies who don’t handle these toll fees will be discriminated against, and their customers will be unable to access the company’s online services. This means new and small companies will never become competitive.

  In this age of online networking, ISPs will come to dominate nearly all Internet traffic. They will be able to decide if people will watch Hulu or Netflix, by adjusting the speed to both of these sites. Since streaming services like YouTube are data-consuming, they will likely be expensive. Net Neutrality is the only thing keeping us protected from these monopolies who are only interested in profit.
  So with this in mind, why is it even remotely possible that Net Neutrality might be repealed?

  These ISPs claim that they are working “for a free Internet,” but this is a deceptive lie. They promise to keep the current system, and simply “open up fast-lanes.” These are excuses to fool uneducated people. These ISPs know the fragility of their claim the most. If they are able to repeal Title II, who knows how long until it ever comes back? Under current conditions, once we let go of Net Neutrality for a second, a replacement will be difficult.

  As you might know, monopolies are extremely detrimental for the consumers, especially in our American society. They can completely inflate prices on a whim and destroy smaller startup businesses, since they have no competition. This is why our government actively tries to break up monopolies, especially in the technology industry. One such example is when Microsoft was the lone superpower in 2001, the US Department of Justice intervened because Microsoft was creating an anti-competitive and monopolistic environment. These ISPs, however, have thought far ahead. They have already divided customers and services to themselves. They maintain a mutual cooperation to act as a single entity. This alliance is less conspicuous, and the government cannot outright stop it.

  Even worse, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a federal agency responsible for creating and enforcing Net Neutrality, has been overrun by ISP-associated members. With the appointment by the Trump association, the FCC chairman Ajit Pai has shown deeply anti-neutrality sentiments. His connection to ISPs is obvious.

  Even in a nation that prides itself in democracy, Net Neutrality is in real danger. Mega corporations are able to freely change the law of this country without our consent. Everyone needs to know what will happen when Net Neutrality disappears. If more people are aware and care, the government won’t be able to take away Net Neutrality so easily.

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