Staff Editorial 12/19 FCC shows complete disregard of American opinion with repeal of Net Neutrality
Enacted in 2015, Net Neutrality prohibited service providers from slowing down or charging more for usage of popular websites such as social media platforms, Netflix and Google. The ensured every American could binge on countless episodes of The Office and send as many snaps as they so desired without being penalized.
On December 14, the Federal Communications Commission too this security blanket away, voting to repeal Net Neutrality with a party line 3-2 vote.
While the result of the vote has not yet taken effect, by repealing Net Neutrality, internet service providers (ISPs) will be allowed to charge companies fees in order to get internet speeds, giving large names like Amazon and Google “fast lanes,” by allowing these sites to be easily navigated as well as get their content out with ease.
The one thing, however, that seems to enrage Americans more than the FCC’s vote to repeal Net Neutrality is how they voted to repeal it. Despite 83 percent of Americans voicing their opposition to the repeal of the bill, the committee did it anyway, undermining what is suppose to be the source of power in the nation, the people.
This law, when enacted will impact the chances of small businesses to make an online presence and damage the United States economy. The ISP will charge fees only the largest, most wealthy websites will be able to afford in order to get their content out in the quickest way possible, not only this, but they can also choose what their consumers consume at this point. The smaller companies will be forced to live with lower internet speeds and less control of how their content is portrayed to their consumer.
Net Neutrality also impedes on freedom of expression on the internet, with the idea of the bigger pockets on the internet being able to afford the fastest speeds and paying the ISP so that they can all but guarantee that their content is seen, taking over the internet waves, not allowing for those without the means to afford the ISP fees to get their ideas out on the internet, meaning they will have a small if not nonexistent voice on the internet.
The FCC, however, could not seem to care less. Following the vote, the chairman, Ajit Pai, made a statement, refuting American’s concerns with the repeal. In this address, he dismissed consumers’ concerns, minimizing their disapproval of the vote. This is not how our government is supposed to work. If 83 percent of Americans of all backgrounds, political affiliation and socioeconomic status have all come to the conclusion that a piece of legislation should not be repealed, then do not repeal it.
Although the vote was made by the FCC to end Net Neutrality, congress can still act to override this decision, due to the congressional review act Congress has 60 days to overturn this appeal with senator Ed Markey looking to lead a bill to overrule the decision made by the FCC, however this even if this happens President Trump will have veto power over any bill passed by congress.
Additionally, state attorneys have wasted no time organizing lawsuits against the FC, specifically challenging the conditions in which they casted their votes. On December 13, two million comments were made fraudulently, using stolen identities. Upon discovery, several states called for the FCC to push back their vote on the bill, but once again, the FCC ignored this wish and casted votes anyway. Now, the FCC will face the courts and Congress in order to enact their decision.
The FCC’s decision previewed what could become a dangerous future if followed. Policy makers and those in a position to make national change must taken into consideration the voices from which their power is supposed to be derived. Too often our political leaders forget this little but crucial fact and act upon their own political agendas rather than on the will of the American people.
There is still a chance Net Neutrality will remain intact, but unless our nation’s’ leaders begin to listen to us, a slow and costly internet experience will be the least of our worries.