Save Net Neutrality or Pay

Your free internet is under attack.

The Federal Communications Commission wants to end net neutrality, and it’s not a good thing.

So what is net neutrality?

According to, net neutrality “protect[s] your ability to go where you want when you want online.”

Essentially, the new Trump-appointed head of the FCC, Ajit Pai, is preparing to slash the open internet and allow internet companies to form internet fast lanes.

It’s a lot of jargon, but when all is said and done, the high speed internet you get now could soon cost more. And if a certain company doesn’t want you to use their competitor’s product or website, they will have the power to make that competitor’s website slower.

As William Brangham from PBS Newshour put it, if Comcast, hypothetically, created a TV series that rivaled Netflix, Comcast could slow down Netflix and charge customers extra for its services in order to promote the success of their new Comcast show.

And stuff like this has already happened.

As John Oliver points out in a video segment from May 2017, back in 2011 Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile blocked Google’s webpay service “Google Wallet” from their phones; coincidentally around the time they released their own extraordinarily similar webpay app “Softcard.”

Yet, Pai still denies that cutting back net neutrality would hurt consumers.

In fact, Pai said in a PBS Newshour interview that the net neutrality regulations “hang over businesses like a black cloud” and prevent them from being able to invest in the growth of their companies.

Except growth, in this case, would mainly account for the growth or profit of large companies. Making providers pay more for their content is a sure profit increase for larger companies like Comcast or Time Warner Cable (now Spectrum).

Unfortunately, by making content providers such as Netflix pay more to keep their content streaming at its normal speed, that cost could be passed down to the consumers. That means you and me.

Pai even claims that there is no evidence that companies would engage in prioritizing providers that pay them more, but he is dead wrong.

Professor of Communication Sharon Docter said, “Practically the day that Chairman Pai of the FCC announced that they were going to roll back the net neutrality rules, Comcast changed its [policy] and is now hinting at the fact that they are going to engage in paid prioritization.”

Essentially, when net neutrality was in place, Comcast’s policies stated that the company would comply with the idea of free and open internet, but as soon as Pai talked about ending that, Comcast changed their minds.

In this case, Pai is either a blissfully ignorant chair of the FCC, or he’s really great at spreading fake news just like the president who appointed him as chairman.

But as citizens of the U.S., action can be taken. Although the FCC’s time for public comment is closed, people can still reach out to the members of Congress. allows users to find and contact their Congressmen and Congresswomen.

As Docter said, the actions of the FCC can be overwritten or superseded by Congress. So if the FCC votes to eliminate net neutrality, Congress can reinstate it.

But if net neutrality really does hinder small companies from growing then perhaps a new net neutrality law can be drawn, but the new laws should be created and implemented before the old ones are ousted.

Yes, the internet survived for nearly 20 years without net neutrality laws, but the past is the past. The internet is a constantly evolving technology, and the law to regulate how that technology is accessed should evolve as well.

Rachael Balcom