Why you should be concerned about the fate of Net Neutrality

in Editorial/Opinion by

Net Neutrality is the psychotic idea that all content should be treated equally and Internet Service Providers can’t slow down a site just because they don’t like the content or aren’t willing to pay more money. Crazy, I know. Unfortunately, our FCC regulators look like they are poised to side with big corporations by voting on discontinuing the Net Neutrality rules on December 14th. Long story short: if you love your country, free porn, and/or free social media, contact the FCC at 1-888-255-5322 or at gofccyourself.com (thanks to John Oliver and the folks at Last Week Tonight), which takes you to their comment section.

This is such an unpopular move that even several ISPs are against it. The few that are in favor of it say that they will be able to deliver faster and cheaper internet access to subscribers. These claims have not been evaluated. I would doubt anything that is said in support of this position.

While I absolutely abhor Breitbart and other fake news websites, I don’t want them to be priced out of existence. If that happens, what is to stop the Washington Post or New York Times from being similarly affected? The internet was meant to be democratic and allow for the free exchange of ideas and content, not to be monopolized by the economic elite. This perversion of free speech must not stand.

To underscore their hostility to free speech and equal treatment of content, the FCC regulators voted 3-2 on a party-line vote to restrict internet access to poor neighborhoods. Of course, this means overwhelming black, Latino, and single-parent households within those neighborhoods will feel this more than white and/or two-parent households. This includes Native Americans on reservations. This program, called “Lifeline,” gives a voucher reducing the cost of internet services to these neighborhoods and households.

Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC and a Trump appointee, gives the standard “government bad, business good” answer on cutting these services, citing it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars that quite simply does not exist. If you watch the Last Week Tonight episodes on Net Neutrality, you will see this guy obsessed with the size of his coffee mug. A man who spends an obscene amount of money on a coffee mug has no place telling people that making internet access affordable to the poor is a waste of money.

In today’s world, the internet is basically a life necessity, along with food, water, shelter, and transportation. The government should be working to make us freer, not enslaved to communications corporations. Nevertheless, American Exceptionalism is not obvious when everything is going our way; it is when we’re struggling to better our lives and expand rights. Freedom is never given, but only taken. The struggle to maintain freedom, both equal and democratic is our duty and birthright as American citizens.