Net Neutrality: Why Should We Care?

In our current political climate, it can seem impossible to keep track of every issue. It’s honestly overwhelming. However, net neutrality laws impact us college students on a daily basis.

What Is Net Neutrality?

The internet is a fundamental component of communication, enjoyment, and education. We use it every day to text our friends, check our schedules, and scroll through Instagram. The former net neutrality laws placed restrictions on the ability of internet service providers (ISP) to alter a website’s accessibility. In December 2017, the Trump Administration repealed these laws. The argument is that less regulation will encourage healthy competition among common carriers. Removing net neutrality will threaten small businesses and the American democracy.

How Net Neutrality Laws Impact Students

The internet’s deregulation will allow large companies to expand into monopolies and discriminate against emerging businesses. Tulane has an amazing business school, and I have many friends that are seeking to start their own companies. Sadly, net neutrality is not working in their favor. The ability of small businesses to become successful is the backbone of the American dream. With strict internet regulations, small and large businesses are on an even playing field. Allowing ISPs to choose the websites to give the highest bandwidth creates a world in which only the richest companies can afford priority coverage. Many of the world’s largest brands were able to grow because their message was spread online, but emerging companies are now at an extreme disadvantage due to their lack of funds. 

            Allowing internet service providers to choose which sites are conveniently viewed is a blatant violation of the First Amendment. When all information on the internet is equally accessible, we have access to all websites. However, with the repeal of net neutrality, certain websites will be easily viewed and others will cost us more money or time. As college students, we don’t have much of either! Without net neutrality, social movements may be censored and fail to gain traction. Organizations such as Black Lives Matter and political campaigns acquire support through the internet, but their messages could be blocked by providers. An internet service provider may legally slow pages tied to beliefs that their company did not hold. If this becomes commonplace, the likelihood of resistance groups gaining traction will be nonexistent. We should be able to make our own political decisions independent of what a service provider promotes. 

Well, What Now?

Call your senators! Both in your home state and here in Louisiana. With so much happening in the political world at the moment, we cannot let our representatives forget about this vital issue. Do your research before voting this November.