Students must work together to protect the web


from @support_net_neutrality

Net Neutrality is something worth fighting for.

Net Neutrality seems like it might possibly be the most boring and most painstakingly complicated concept on its face. While it is a complicated issue that should not just be reduced to buzzwords, at its base, net neutrality protects smaller sites from getting slowed down by internet service providers and protects the free market of the internet.

That is why the Federal Communications Commission’s ruling to dismantle those protections seems so startling, however this is not the time for students for reach for their tinfoil hats to protect themselves from big businesses taking over the world.

It is not the end of the internet as we know it…yet. There is still time for Congress to take action and do something to keep Net Neutrality alive and it is up to students and young people of the country to do that.

Teens are the people who will be most affected by this because the internet is so ingrained in every high schooler’s life and everything that they do.

Teens are the people who will be most affected by this because the internet is so ingrained in every high schooler’s life and everything that they do.  Additionally, it will be a part of everything that students will do in the future.

It is not yet the time to panic, it is the time to do something while there is still time.

It is still not yet legal for ISPs to slow down speeds of sites. It is not yet legal for ISPs to charge sites to bring up their speed. So for all that the tinfoil hats would not do, reaching for the phones to reach out to legislators and congress people would do.

This could override the actions of Ajit Pai and the Federal Communications Commission. If not their actions will have an actionably negative effect on any student as they continue their high school career or go onto college and then into the workforce.

As Cait Gibbons of the University of Wisconsin student newspaper, The Badger Herald, outlined, there is a clear and present threat for University students specifically. The removal of Net Neutrality makes it almost impossible for Universities to provide their students with the education resources necessary to fulfill their mission statements.

To read the full Badger Herald article go here.

After college, and once students become consumers and begin paying for internet services, the problems continue. If an internet service provider charges certain companies for higher speeds that a consumer is not a fan of, consumers have very few other options.

One company controls 55% of the internet service in the country and two others split almost all of the other 45%. This near monopoly on the internet industry gives consumers little choice and little recourse.

That is why, while Net Neutrality is painted as a needless piece of regulation that hinders the free market, it, in fact, hinders an actual free market of the sites on the internet.

It makes it so one or two big businesses can’t pick winners and losers. It is not the government, it is not people that can be voted out of office, without Net Neutrality, CEOs that only have obligations for profits of their own company can pick the winners and losers.

This is something that clearly will impact students in the long run. That is why it is not time for students to panic, it is time for students to act to make sure that Net Neutrality stays in place.

Cait Gibbons is Breandan Gibbons’ sister and an alumnae of St. Paul Academy and Summit School.