Net neutrality has been one of those hush-hush issues that had some visibility in the beginning but slowly disappeared until the threat of it being officially repealed came closer.
Net neutrality was repealed today, 23 April 2018. You aren’t feeling the effects of it yet, because it takes time for these decisions to fully take effect. But ultimately, the internet is no longer free. But what does that mean? Removing the Obama era regulations means that the Internet can be run like a cable company: you’ll have to pay for certain services, like access to YouTube, Google, Spotify and other platforms that you regularly enjoy on the Internet for free. There’s even the possibility that you’ll have to pay to access HerCampus.
It also means that whoever your Internet provider is, they can limit the information you can see in favor of their own information over others. If your provider is X Company, then it can limit what you can see from Y Company because they’re competitors and you’ve chosen X Company. X Company has the power now to increase your Internet bill and plan options might look like the picture above. $5 and $10 might not seem like much, but it adds up in the end.
A policy like this is especially damaging for the poor and minorities who may not be able to afford those extra bucks to access Google. Information should be free for all, and the ACLU and the UN has already declared free internet to be a civil right. There has already been opposition to the repeal of net neutrality. Twenty-three states are suing over the decision, California and Washington state have signed legislation keeping net neutrality within their borders. But that’s doing more harm than good.
So what are the steps next to be taken? The repeal was supported by Republicans under the idea that “In real life, all sorts of interactions are prioritized every day. What about TSA pre-check?” as R-TN Marsha Blackburn has said. But the internet is not the same as an airport. An FCC controlled by the Democrats would likely alter the direction of net neutrality laws, but for now the Democrats are calling for a Congressional Review Act (CRA) to try and stop the repeal, but it is unlikely that the President would sign off should it reach his desk. My advice to you: vote in the midterm elections, call your representatives! Straight up bother them: you voted for them and it’s their job to make sure your concerns are voiced in the national theater. If they don’t care about you, they care about getting reelected. Keep your concerns at the forefront of their thoughts. There is only one more vote needed for the CRA; bother your representative.