Abandoning net neutrality will stifle our free and open Internet

An inherent part of being an American is having freedom. Net neutrality is just one of the preventions protecting that freedom and the right to access websites on the Internet. Net neutrality is what prevents companies from monopolizing the market and controlling aspects of using the Internet to gain more profit. 

In 2015, Title II, a provision protecting net neutrality, was passed under the Communications Act of 1934, protecting the internet-using public from being subjected to discrimination and political views of biased companies and the unfair monopolization, or domination of the market, of online phone and cable companies. In other words, it prevented large businesses from deciding what websites citizens can access easily or at all and abusively charging higher prices for certain webpages. 

Recently, Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Ajit Pai, a former lawyer for Verizon, has pushed for a measure that would destroy the freedom that users currently enjoy on the internet. 

Those who oppose net neutrality argue that the principle allows private internet service providers to monopolize the Internet, therefore restricting smaller businesses’ ability to compete. In reality, it is net neutrality that actually prevents this from occurring. Eliminating net neutrality would lead to a small selection of large cable companies gaining total control of the Internet and what information we access. Without the policy, these companies can force customers to pay high prices to access certain websites, such as Youtube, Netflix or Facebook and slow down the Wi-Fi in an attempt to redirect customers to their own services.  

The argument can be made, however, that net neutrality is unfair to companies overall because some of the services that they provide, such as streaming,  have a higher bandwidth and cost the company more than simply loading a smaller website. Because net neutrality does not allow companies to set prices based on how much bandwidth the customer uses and instead makes the companies mandate a single, regulated price, the company loses money.  Despite this, net neutrality and the freedom it brings to users of the Internet is more important than the profit of the businesses that already do well from net neutrality. It isn’t worth it to risk the freedom to use the Internet in order to let businesses profit more. 

Due to these issues, cable and phone companies like Verizon and Comcast have formed a lobby, and paid Pai and other members of Congress to make and support a proposal to ban net neutrality so they can benefit from the measure. Not only is this borderline corruption and bribery, but it shows that the supporters of the repeal act do not have the future of the U.S. in mind when asking for the repeal. Also, according to the Pew Research Center, 57 percent of 20 million comments, the majority of which supported the repeal against net neutrality, to the FCC through social media were faked. Democrats are currently calling for an investigation  into the matter and a vote for the delay of the net neutrality vote. The fake comments further show that businesses against net neutrality are willing to go to extreme measures like faking data to make more money, regardless of the fact that it’s a crime. The internet service providers clearly want to profit at the expense of freedom, integrity and truth.  However, banning net neutrality would lead to smaller companies being at a disadvantage and larger companies having more control, which means that there would be less competition in the market. Less competition would mean that there is more potential for monopolization and a weaker economy. 

Furthermore, losing net neutrality would form a clear path to censorship and withdrawal of important information. For example, if a certain ISP only allows their subscribers to access websites that were conservative in their views or opposed to certain policy, they would be blocking citizens from learning about subjects they need to know about in order to make informed decisions. 

Net neutrality also allows for the sharing of information and opinions quickly and efficiently. People can gain access to a wide variety of social platforms and share their voices with net neutrality, and social media outreach has been utilized by movements like Black Lives Matter, Pride, Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street and other social activism movements.

However, ISPs that are opposed to certain social movements can prohibit users from seeing them and, therefore, learning about them and supporting them. The social changes that rose with the help of the internet and social mediamight have been prevented if net neutrality had been banned, and, although whose with political views in conflict with the social movements may have disliked them, censorship and the free access to information is essential to being an American. 
Some citizens, however, support net neutrality, but want to repeal Title II over worries of how it is regulated by the government and held in place by laws. If the Internet is a public space and commodity, then it should not be controlled. In the contrary, having the government regulate the Internet to ensure its freedom is a much better choice than leaving total control of the Internet to just few businesses. 

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