The Vista Voice

Net Neutrality – What the Repeal Means for You

Nick Cusick, Staff Writer

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The internet – what would you do without it? The invention that many have come to love so much allows people to communicate with the rest of the world, have a voice, and share opinions. It gives us life-changing opportunities, it educates us, and it entertains us.

What if some of that freedom on the internet was taken away? What if people couldn’t visit any website or media platform people wanted to without paying large amounts of money? Some people think that just might happen, while others aren’t so sure.

As of now, Americans are protected from our internet service providers blocking and restricting lawful content or slowing down data transmission if consumers don’t pay high premiums. These rules are known as network, or net neutrality.

The Federal Communications Commission is working toward officially repealing current net neutrality rules.

It is thought that the repeal of net neutrality would allow internet service providers to put profits over consumers and control what they see, do, and say on the internet, but many people have differing opinions as to how much net neutrality really affects them. Some think that it will be drastically different for their daily internet usage, but others think that it’ll only affect media of less importance, such as television streaming services competing against one another within a service provider.

The question is: how important is net neutrality, really?

At Vista del Lago High School, students and teachers have their own differing opinions.

“Well, what companies could do and how that might affect me is I may have less of an opportunity to find startups, you know,” said Douglas Lewin, a computer science teacher at Vista. “The next competitor of Netflix may not be able to be seen because they won’t be able to get the response time that they need for us [the consumers] to actually make it worthwhile.”

While people may not see such a drastic difference in our internet performance, Lewin added, “I don’t think the ‘in’ customer will necessarily see it. I don’t think you and I will see it, at least not from our internet service providers. I think we’ll see it from other companies. So, if one of the Netflixs of the world or the Youtubes of the world, is where you can really see the change possibly. It’s gonna end up costing them more [to profit off of other service providers], so they’re gonna pass that cost along somehow.”

“I think that net neutrality is important, but if they get rid of it, it still won’t be that bad,” said a sophomore at Vista who wished to remain anonymous. “But that’s just me; I don’t use things like social media or Netflix that often, so I don’t really think that it’ll be a big problem for me. For other people, I can see how it may be an inconvenience though.”

Normal, everyday consumers won’t see immediate, or even drastic changes at all. Maybe prices will go up for competing media and streaming services, but search engines and informational sources should be just as available as they are now.

The repeal is happening, but it is yet to be seen if it will be as extreme as everyone makes it out to be. While the date isn’t set in stone for when the repeal might come into effect, it is scheduled to formally take effect on April 23.

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