The Battle for Internet Freedom: Who Will Win?

Lydia Nelson, Section Editor

This year, people across the country are fighting for their right to surf the web as the government is pressing down on the loss of net neutrality. Net neutrality is the right to search the internet freely, without major web companies such as AT&T and Comcast taking it away by slowing down normal internet speeds and forbidding access to certain sites that an individual may want to use. Without this freedom, it is possible that people could be forced to buy an internet package based on which company their web access is provided by.  When someone wants to have internet, they could have to pay an allotted price for the specific amount of internet that they want to use.  For example, if someone wanted to use Twitter, or another version of social media, then they would have to buy a Twitter package deal, or a specific amount of money that provides them with access to Twitter for a limited amount of time.

Teens and adults alike are all baffled by the decision of the Federal Communications Commision, commonly known as the FCC, to place a bill to completely end net neutrality forever.  If the bill succeeds, then businesses that rely on the internet to grow their profit will no longer be able to compete with other higher paying organizations.  However,  the FCC says that the loss of net neutrality will be a bonus for many Americans businesses. According to the FCC chairman Ajit Pai, “We are helping consumers and promoting competition.  Broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially to underserved areas.”  With this statement, the FCC believes that without net neutrality, bigger businesses who operate online can compete with other growing businesses to grow their already expanding profits, and offer more people their services.

Although the FCC thinks that their intentions are good, a large portion of Americans disagree. They think that with the “death” of net neutrality, we could no longer enjoy the web as we have for the past few years and we would not have the freedom to access whatever information we desire.  An article titled “Net Neutrality: What You Need To Know Now” states, “Without the Net Neutrality rules, companies like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon will be able to call all the shots and decide which websites, content, and applications succeed.”  After net neutrality goes away, big companies could decide what information we can and cannot use. Although there are a variety of different opinions on this political debate, many people still disagree with the loss of this internet freedom. Even today, there are hundreds of men and women fighting for the rebirth of net neutrality.  

In response to the FCC’s decision, many states have already taken action to keep net neutrality alive within their borders. For example, Montana’s governor,  Steve Bullock, issued an order on January 22, 2018, that every website company based in Montana would have to abide by net neutrality rules. The FCC said that states could not set rules such as this one, but even so, Montana continues to fight against them. “There has been a lot of talk around the country about how to respond to the recent decision,” Bullock said when announcing his order before a group of computer science students in Helena. “It’s time to actually do something about it.”

Individuals across America have all been arguing whether net neutrality is a privilege, or if it is a hindrance to our freedoms.  A number of states have already taken extreme measures to make sure that net neutrality stays in effect for their people.  Even though the ending of net neutrality has not yet come into effect, people all around the U.S. are preparing for battle against the Government and the FCC.  At the end of the day, there only remains one question: Who will win the battle for true net neutrality?


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