Garfield Senior High School

Opinion: Gutting net neutrality is a terrible idea

I love the internet and almost everything it has to offer. It helps us waste days away watching television shows and movies, make connections we do and don’t care about with people, and spend hours arguing about politics with strangers online. I use the internet daily for important things like streaming anime episodes to watch every week and unimportant things like turning in school assignments. Yet it seems my access to all the things I love about the internet will soon be in danger.

On Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission voted on to abandon net neutrality laws, which kept all data access equal in speed.

Ajit V. Pai, the FCC chairman, and the rest of the FCC voted 3-2 to get rid of net neutrality laws. Net neutrality protects consumers by assuring that all data sent through your internet service provider to your devices is treated equally when it comes to speed. That means whether you’re binge-watching a show on Netflix or scrolling through your social media feeds, you’re getting the data speed you paid for.

Without net neutrality this could very quickly change. If internet service providers (ISPs) are allowed to treat data from different sources unequally, it’s going to be at the price of the consumer. You see, an ISP would be able to package internet service into different sections. For instance, you could be charged a certain amount for your normal internet service, but then be forced to pay extra on top based on the websites you want to access. An ISP would be able to throttle the speeds for specific websites, making them practically unreachable. Imagine trying watching YouTube videos in high quality with dial-up speeds. It would be impossible. Your ISP would charge you extra to access these sites.

It seems pretty trendy for websites to create new services for a cost. We can see this in services like YouTube Red and Amazon Prime. This, however, is much different. Unlike the aforementioned services, getting rid of net neutrality wouldn’t allow internet service providers to create new services for consumers, but instead create blocks for what they already have and charge them for what they previously had access to.

Getting rid of these laws in no way helps the consumer. It only serves to benefit the internet service providers. It offers nothing that the consumer already has after all.

We need to keep these net neutrality laws in order to preserve a free and open internet. I don’t like the idea of being charged extra for the websites I love when the price I pay for my normal internet service is already exorbitant. The internet has become an integral part of my life and I’m going to do what I can to preserve it. I urge every one of you to use your voice to speak out against the destruction of these important laws, before it’s too late and we pay the price, literally, for it.