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Net neutrality laws under fire, putting equal access at risk

Jay Tiperneni, Staff Reporter

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A monumental vote on whether net neutrality laws will be kept or repealed occurred Dec. 14. Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, have to treat all data and users on the internet equally.

Without net neutrality, internet service providers can dictate access to certain sources and how fast or slow your internet speeds are based on the source. For example, if Comcast doesn’t sponsor or support Netflix, then they would now legally be allowed to slow your internet speed down while on the site. The current net neutrality laws were established under President Barack Obama.

Repealing net neutrality means that ISPs could control what we see on the internet. Even more importantly, it could mean that citizens would have to pay to access certain websites.

“If I had the power to do so, I’d have to say I would agree with removing net neutrality.” freshman Mason Watkins said. “Leave [the internet] for the business and the people.”

Many people who don’t support net neutrality believe that the government is inefficient and detrimental to the private industry’s success and that it should be left to the people and corporations. One example of government inefficiency that Watkins cites is the DMV. Watkins argues that if internet service were to be regulated by the government, similar to the DMV, then internet users would suffer.

“The [DMV] is controlled by the government. Now the service is chaotic and the lines are time consuming,” Watkins said.

But for others around the country, support for net neutrality is widespread. Many advocacy groups have appeared on the internet in support of net neutrality. One of these groups is BattlefortheNet.com, a website that encourages viewers to contact their congressional representative to help stop the FCC from repealing net neutrality.

“The more freely [internet] is available to consumers, the better,” programming teacher Cameron Dodge said.

Sequoia currently gets internet access through the County Office of Education, so even though Sequoia’s internet may not be affected students and teachers would still have to go through ISPs to gain internet access outside of school.

“[No net neutrality] would make using the internet harder, and that’s not acceptable because it affects nearly all aspects of our lives,” sophomore Michael Simon said.

If net neutrality were repealed, the US may see a similar situation as Portugal, where ISPs make customers pay for “internet packages”. Each of these packages is categorized as social media, entertainment, work, etc. Users have to pay for each package monthly, which is separate from payments required to access Netflix and other paid internet services.

“Internet access is something that should be available to all and should be encouraged, not dimished,” Dodge said.

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Net neutrality laws under fire, putting equal access at risk