Editorial: A new era of net neutrality

With advancements in technology comes new additions to the Internet. The Internet allows for free global communication, more resources for students and professors and easy access to the news. With all of this comes net neutrality, the idea that everything in the realm of the Internet is open to the public. However, now that there have been guidelines set for net neutrality, some people are angered because the Internet has evolved to become a necessity like electricity and water utilities that should be treated as such (with freedom of use for all).

The Internet has become a necessity for modern day society. The sheer depth of it is unmatched by any other invention and continues to grow every day. Even if big companies somehow did get a chance to monopolize the Internet, it would be hard even for them to manage. If they do, however, the Internet will become a two-tiered system with different bundles and packages, just like cable television. With this, people may have to pay more to use websites such as Netflix, Reddit and Tumblr at normal speed.

On Feb. 22, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled 3-2 in favor of net neutrality, according to Circa News.

“I am incredibly proud of the process the Commission has run in developing today’s historic open Internet protections. I say that not just as the head of this agency, but as a U.S. citizen. Today’s Open Internet Order is a shining example of American democracy at work,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement after the ruling, according to FCC.gov.

Similar to students who can afford SAT and ACT tutors and prep schools, students who are willing to pay for more efficient Internet will have an unfair advantage over less fortunate students who are unable to upgrade their Internet services due to the lack of financial support, even though all children up to 18 years of age are guaranteed free public school education. It would be unfair for everybody, not just students, if the Internet were sectioned off and sold as “fast” or “slow.”

Net neutrality is vital for the advancement of our society, and the Internet should not be treated like television and phone services. Unlike cell phones and television, the Internet affects more aspects of people’s lives than just relieving boredom, especially for students. Every day, students are encouraged to utilize online resources to help them with projects, homework and research. If the Internet were to be suddenly sold off with corporate giants like AT&T Comcast, the Internet loses its potential for being a level playing field for all students.

The protection of net neutrality is vital for keeping the vast Internet equal for all.  It will become harder for students to do their research online, and big corporate companies will make money off what we once considered a free necessity. If companies were ever to take ownership of the Internet, the typical “I don’t know, just Google it,” response when asked for an answer to a homework question may no longer become a valid reply.