Repealing net neutrality will threaten our democracy

Net neutrality is “the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.”

On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality. This means that Internet service providers will hold the power to determine what consumers can or cannot see and charge consumers based on the services they access.

The decision has been met with an overwhelming amount of backlash from the American people, deservingly so. There are not many issues which have been agreed upon so widely, but it’s safe to say most feel the internet shouldn’t be regulated by the government.

A survey conducted by the University of Maryland shows that 83 percent of Americans do not approve of the FCC’s plans. While we live in a day and age where much of the country is divided on economic and social issues, a considerable amount of consensus has been displayed by members of the Democratic and Republican parties.

Repealing net neutrality is about more than raising prices for access to Netflix or various social media platforms. It encourages censorship and violates our right to freedom of speech. The FCC’s chairman, Ajit Pai, is promoting a pro-corporate agenda that will have detrimental effects on e-commerce startups, small business owners, and the average consumer like you and I.

It’s frightening to think that we are one step closer to Portugal’s reality, where internet bundling is already happening. The internet should not be split into packages that come with a monthly fee, which is determined by the demand of the websites you use. It should be free and open to all.

In repealing net neutrality, the FCC is taking away our control and handing it over to major corporations. We must stand up, speak out, and fight to reverse this decision and ensure the internet remains a place where expression is fostered and innovators can thrive.