Students react to FCC vote

Saba Nia

Students expressed their opposition to the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to repeal net neutrality Dec. 14 by signing petitions and speaking out about their positions.

According to CNN, net neutrality refers to the rules the FCC adopted in 2015 that stated that Internet service providers were not allowed to alter the speed of traffic of certain apps or websites.

The day after the FCC vote, supporters of net neutrality, like Charlotte Weinman ’18, stared at their computers, dismayed.

After hours of posting links on social media and texting numbers that sent letters of her support to senators, the event that Weinman feared had occurred: the future of a free Internet was no longer guaranteed.

“Net neutrality is important because social media is the way we get our news,” Weinman said. “Newspaper websites, blogs, profiles of politicians — that’s how we stay informed [about] current events.”

When the Republican-led agency decided to get rid of the net neutrality rules, internet providers, such as Verizon and Comcast, were no longer prohibited from prioritizing access to different online content.

“If we wanted to read scholarly articles that were posted independently like for essays or research, those are the ones that will be out of funding or given slower Internet,” Weinman said. “This is a huge obstacle in our lives as students.”

Opponents of the vote said that although the school community may not be as affected by the decision, the vote still troubles them.

Sam Baron ’19 signed petitions to spread the word about the issue leading up the vote.

“A free Internet is the best Internet, where everybody has equal access to every site without extra cost,” Baron said.

Supporters of net neutrality said they will continue to fight for the protection of a free Internet.

“Everyone should get vocal in as many ways as possible,” Weinman said. “It’s definitely a conversation, but not a loud enough one.”