Imagine waking up early in the morning, reaching for your mobile device to enter the web browser of your favorite news website or online news publication to see the latest news stories. You encounter a message from your phone carrier. The message says that the website is not offered based on your package and to please upgrade to their exclusive package to access all services.
Since most of you are college students who must deal with many college expenses, you are living on a fixed budget. The reality would be that you cannot upgrade your plan. Thus, like most millennials, most of you head to your social media accounts to find out what is going on in the news since you last logged off.
Your news feed appears to take longer than usual to upload. At this point, you grow increasingly frustrated trying to browse and search for other alternatives, but nothing seems to work. Well, because your carrier does not have a distinct “package” or “deal” with your ideal app, you are blocked from accessing certain information.
This scenario sounds like a terrifying story straight out of a R.L. Stine book. However, it seems as if this scenario has become an inevitable possibility for the future of millions of Americans in 2018. In December 2017, a proposal revealed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed and approved the repeal of net neutrality.
Who can we thank for such an unrefined invasion of liberty and internet accessibility? We must thank President Donald Trump first for renominating Ajit Pai to serve another five-year term remaining as chairman of the FCC.
Trump’s decision has now allowed an Obama-era agenda originally meant to prevent big internet providers such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from gaining influence of internet access, to now legally providing them control over what we see and do on the internet. Since this repeal, the FCC can now start restructuring the internet. So, what can be said about the future of our online usage?
As a college student, I rely heavenly on my laptop and my smartphone to access all aspects of the internet. This access provides me with the tools and resources that I can apply to my educational, work and social needs. However, because of the repeal of net neutrality, my freedom and access has now become limited.
I think the repeal of net neutrality is not only a bad political decision, but one that fringes on damaging the educational development of many students across the country. In my view, limited access to certain websites could certainly limit one’s perspective.
As a student like myself, you need fast and reliable internet service to research information on an academic level. However, if you are restricted from accessing information that pertains to your educational needs, you are therefore robbed of resources that can potentially help develop your educational perspective. I believe this new repeal only caters to the rich and elite of our society. You know the top one percent that is constantly pushed and spoken about on our news broadcast; the rich who can afford the change in internet and monopolize off the plans it offers to online users.
Since the latest repeal has allowed an entity to meddle with our internet access, therefore tampering with our lives, what can be said of the current state of the internet?
Comedian Steven Wright once said, “The internet is the wild, Wild West but with no rules.” Well, who would ever think such words would transcend into reality? With the new repeal, companies can now theoretically charge customers more if they watch a lot of Netflix, Hulu or hypothetically serve Netflix data at a slower speed. It is stealing but at a grander scale; nevertheless, it is legally just.
However, Sen. Patrick Leahy once said, “Stealing is stealing. I don’t care if it’s on the Internet or you’re breaking into a warehouse somewhere, it’s theft.”