The End of Net Neutrality

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It is true that no one person holds authority over the function of the Internet, but that does not mean that there aren’t actions being taken to make sure that everyone has fair access. Net Neutrality was one of those actions. If the Internet is, indeed, open to the public for use, then it makes sense that the means of using the Internet is centered around equal availability. This was the idea when the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) enforced the Net Neutrality policies in 2015, also known as Title II. The policy, in short, had prohibited broadband and cell phone companies from controlling web traffic.

According to Mae Anderson (2018) from her article, “’Net neutrality’ is ending. Here’s How Your Internet Use Could Change”, “Internet providers such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast had to treat all traffic equally. They couldn’t slow down or block websites of their choosing” (Anderson 2018). The policy was well-meaning and ensured that every website, especially websites offering a specific or competing service, had a fair chance of being reached and every consumer had a fair chance of getting through the web without being hindered.

With the policy being repealed on December 14 of 2017, it opened the door to a widespread panic. Here lies the problem. Many believe that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) should not be given that much power when it comes to this certain mass medium. As Campbell, Martin, and Fabios (2012) makes it a point to say, companies “would like to dismiss net neutrality and give faster connections and greater priority to clients willing to pay higher rates” (p.51).

Favorite sites could be reduced to sluggish speeds just to get consumers to visit new sites that contain costly prices for services, visuals could be defaulted to blurry pixelations unless a higher resolution is being paid for, things can be blocked altogether per the companies’ preference. This changes the integrity of the internet. What has been a democratic agency now becomes something that large companies dictate through the means of money. It is essentially a form of censorship.

The end of Net Neutrality does not simply stop there. The end of Net Neutrality could also aid in the widening of the Digital Divide. There is a prominent gap in life between those who have and those who do not have, which applies to access to the Internet as well. Not everyone can afford to be a part of the endless pool of information and with the end of Net Neutrality, it could be that many will be unable to afford Internet at all.

When there’s a possibility of companies being able to charge for faster speeds and certain web pages, it further expands the space between who can engage with the world. Campbell, et al. (2012), states that “even as the Internet matures, wealthy users are still more able to buy higher levels of privacy and faster speeds of Internet access than other users” (p.65). It gives companies power over who obtains knowledge and what is the Internet really if it is only available to the affluent?


Cite this paper

The End of Net Neutrality. (2021, Jun 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-end-of-net-neutrality/

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