OPINION: Corporate lobbies are coming to gobble up your free internet

From Issue 4

Net Neutrality is a principle that ensures that every American can access the internet freely and without restriction from their internet providers on the content being accessed and the speed at which their internet works. The driving purpose behind net neutrality, as listed on the official net neutrality documents on the FCC website is as follows: “The open Internet drives the American economy and serves, every day, as a critical tool for America’s citizens to conduct commerce, communicate, educate, entertain, and engage in the world around them”. The FCC instituted this policy under the Obama administration in 2015, and has since served to prevent companies that provide internet access from controlling what people are able to access based on the amount of money they pay for access to the internet.

Supporters of net neutrality argue that without government restrictions, big corporations like AT&T from controlling the internet and preventing small businesses from using the internet to grow. Many have argued that if net neutrality is gutted by the FCC, then the open market system will suffer because it will be nearly impossible for new businesses to use the internet to provide goods and services to consumers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “defending civil liberties in the digital world”, states that big businesses will not act to ensure unfair data practices against the consumer, contrary to the argument by those who are against these regulations that corporations will “exert pressure” to protect the open internet. Before Net Neutrality, American cable companies were able to freely slow down websites so they could extort extra cash from them – an example being in 2014 when Comcast slowed down Netflix’s streaming service until they could reach a “mutually beneficial” agreement. Without the regulation Net Neutrality provides, major internet providers are going to be able to take more from both websites and customers.

When it comes to the way the internet is paid for without net neutrality, many supporters of the principle point to Portugal as an example of what can happen without net neutrality. Internet access is paid for in the same way that cable TV is. Consumers first pay a base fee for data and speed, and then pay additional charges for packages of websites. Some packages contain streaming services like Netflix, while others contain music like Spotify. This means that unless you are willing to shell out extra cash, what you are able to access on the internet is greatly diminished. The ability of internet providers to prevent you from accessing what you want to access by either throttling the speed at which particular content loads, or outright blocking access to them is a serious concern.

The destruction of Net Neutrality has come about thanks to Trump’s FCC chairman appointee Ajit Pai. Pai’s excuse is that he wants to create a “free” internet by dismantling the regulations. However, it is likely that Pai’s real motivation is the corporate cash that internet companies can give him if he makes decisions that benefit them. All Pai is doing is handing over control of the internet from the government to corporations who would sign your soul over to Satan for 2 dollars.

The only arguments against Net Neutrality are coming from internet companies and the lawmakers in their pockets. The primary argument is that corporations want to get rid of regulations so they can serve the customer better. This is completely false. Ever since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution where companies would send children to work for pennies in factories and mineshafts under extremely hazardous conditions, companies could care less about how they treat anyone as long as they make a profit. The repeal of Net Neutrality is the perfect example of how corporate corruption is plaguing our nation.

Any lawmaker that is supporting the repeal of Net Neutrality is showing that they could care less about their people as long as there wallet is full. We can only hope that in the sea of corruption that is American politics that someone will take a stand for the people of our nation and prevent despicable acts such as this one from ever coming to fruition.

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