One of the most controversial issues facing America: Net Neutrality



Protesters protesting against the FCC’s ruling.

Jay Gupta, Staff Writer

   On Thursday, December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted along party lines to repeal net neutrality.  Net neutrality implies that internet service providers have to treat every website equally, in terms of connectivity speed.  With net neutrality repealed, theoretically, a politician could pay an internet service provider to slow down his opponent’s website, in order to thwart his opponent’s campaign.  

   The repeal has led to a heated debate, with members of the Webb community on both sides of the issue. Mason Stallings (‘21) says “Getting rid of net neutrality just increases internet competitiveness, thus creating better services and cheaper prices.”  Jonathan Becker (‘20) agrees arguing, “The fact of the matter is that companies should be able to speed up or slow down based on how much you pay.  Just like in any industry, there is a difference in service based on how much you pay.”

   Kush Arya (‘20) says, “I think that the repeal of net neutrality shows a deep corruption in our government, as the FCC commissioners just voted along party lines.”  Eleanor Corbin (‘20) agrees, arguing, “[The Repeal of Net Neutrality] allows companies to slow down the service in lower income regions, generally, even if someone in that region pays full price.”

   Webb’s Director of Technology, Mr. Tim Coates offers a balanced viewpoint on net neutrality, saying, “The battle for net neutrality is far from over. With the amount of attention the FCC’s ruling to dismantle net neutrality has received, I would be surprised to see carriers making radical changes any time soon. The first carrier to be seen as making changes runs the risk of customers leaving them to find the most net neutral bandwidth provider available. As consumers of information we have to be attentive to what information we use to form our ideas, thoughts, and opinions. As the issue of net neutrality unfolds we all need to pay attention and determine what sources we choose to listen to.”

   Clearly, there is a large divide in the United States over the controversial repeal of net neutrality, but it is also an issue that affects many members of the Webb community, who differ in ideas about the impacts of net neutrality, both negative and positive.