Why Net Neutrality Matters

Net Neutrality has become a hot topic in our current political climate, however this is not the first time this issue has been brought up, and unfortunately not the last. Net Neutrality is the foundation of how our internet operates today; it preserves our right to communicate freely online.

This term represents internet that enables and protects free speech. It requires ISPs to provide open networks, with no bias or control on what websites or services you are using on the internet. Just as a phone company should not decide who you call and what you say, internet and cable companies shouldn't be able to interfere with what you view and post online.

Without Net Neutrality, cable and phone companies are free to divide the internet into “fast” and “slow” lanes. They could slow down content, block opposing political opinions, or allow multi-billion dollar content companies, such as Comcast or AT&T, to pay for preferential treatment.

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Image via NPR

The internet without Net Neutrality is not the internet we know anymore. The entire online community would become a restricted network where cable and phone companies control all content, and decide which websites or applications are given access to.

Additionally, the consequences would be especially destructive for marginalized communities. Racial and religious minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community in the United States depend on the open internet to organize, spread awareness, and fight back against systemic discrimination.

Without Net Neutrality, how will activists rally people for their cause if ISPs can block their messages and websites? Where will social movements such as Black Lives Matter find a platform?

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Net Neutrality is also vital for small business owners and entrepreneurs, who rely on the open internet to launch their businesses, create markets, advertise, and reach customers. We need the neutral internet to kindle innovation, creativity, and job growth.

Without the open internet, Google and Facebook wouldn’t have ever become successful, as they would be stuck in the slow lane due to the overpowering corporations.

This is one of the most important decisions that will be made in the 21st century. We cannot allow the FCC and multi-billion dollar companies control our society, and obliterate free speech, just to become even wealthier.

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*If you would like to learn more about this topic, my high school government teacher created an amazing and successful documentary that is currently on Netflix titled, “Killswitch.