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Net Neutrality: What You Need to Know

Yna Faith, staff writer

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Last week, the federal communications commission voted to repeal net neutrality. What happens next is either faster, expanded internet access or a dystopian internet ruled by Net Nazis. Millions of Americans right now are mulling over net neutrality rules that have prevented companies from blocking websites or demanding fees to reach consumers. But the most vocal and committed activity may have come from generation Internet, the savvy teengers in high school as well as middle school who are so developed in technology and have grown costumed to the open internet.

When you go on the Internet, you expect to be connected to whatever websites you want, assuming that your cable or phone company is hooking you up with fast reliable connection right? You expect to be in control of your Internet experience.

What is Net Neutrality? 

Net Neutrality is the Internet’s guiding principle: It preserves our rights as people to communicate and do what we want freely online. It is an internet that enables and protects free speech. Some claim that the Internet without net neutrality isn’t really the Internet.

What will happen to the internet now?

Without Net Neutrality, phone companies such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and SilverStar will be able to call all the shots and decide what applications you can download and what websites you can access. They will probably not prevent you from going where you want to, but they theoretically could now decide how fast your get there and maybe show much you pay for certain access. For example, they could slow down their competitors content, block political opinions they do not like, or charge extra fees so those who can afford to pay for preferential treatment get the best experience, relegating everyone else to slower service.

The consequences could be devastating for media outlets who represent themselves online. Minorities or special interest groups who use the internet to organize, access educational purposes, and fight back against discrimination may find their ability to do so severely curtailed.

We really don’t know what the Internet will look like after the repeal of net neutrality. Maybe the average surfer of the web won’t even be able to tell the difference. On the other hand, he or she may find themselves surfing a completely different wave.

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The student news site of Star Valley High School
Net Neutrality: What You Need to Know