An Equal Playing Field

January 9, 2018
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In recent weeks, the issue of net neutrality has been hotly debated across economic and political boundaries.  Net neutrality regulations, set in place during the late years of the Obama administration, required internet service providers to treat all websites as equal, regardless of said website’s gross income, fees paid to the service provider, and content.  This allowed for internet users to have equal access to information from both large and small sources, and allowed for smaller companies and websites to gain a following without paying high royalties.  On December 14th, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted for a repeal of net neutrality regulations, arguing that this will allow for better competition among websites and service provider companies.  Now, because of the repeal, internet service providers will be legally allowed to discriminate between websites.  They can slow down service to websites not paying certain fees, charge royalties to customers for access to certain services, and even block content from public view.  These new rights granted to internet service providers takes away the right to the free and open flow of information once held by citizen users of the internet, hence placing a higher value on a corporation than on an individual citizen.  Though corporations are a valuable asset to the United States as a nation, in any case in which the rights of individual citizens are put up against the rights of a corporation, the rights of the citizens must be chosen in a free nation.  Democracies are built on people, not on companies.  Hence, the repeal of net neutrality protections for consumers of internet content is an unacceptable shift of burden from corporations to citizens and small businesses.  For this reason, the repeal of net neutrality regulations by the FCC is unacceptable, and must be fought in congress and beyond, if needed.    

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