North Texas Daily

FCC correct, wise on net neutrality decision

FCC correct, wise on net neutrality decision

FCC correct, wise on net neutrality decision
March 03
00:16 2015

The Editorial Board

The Federal Communications Commission was correct and righteous in its decision to consider the Internet as a public utility. The Internet should be free, and for now it will remain free. No, this doesn’t mean that you can cut the monthly costs from Verizon or Charter, but it does mean you can continue to surf the web as you wish.

The FCC ruled on reclassifying broadband Internet as a public utility, as opposed to a tool whose speed could be regulated by cost and throttled at will.

The term “net neutrality” has been thrown around a lot as of late, and there is a public misconception on what the phrase means. Net neutrality means the Internet stays open and free without slowdowns or speedups based on cost. It’s a good thing. Without net neutrality, companies like Verizon would create Internet speed highways, where those who paid more had access to more content quicker. How would this look? Well, people who paid more money than you for Internet would have their Netflix movies stream faster than yours, and yours may barely stream at all.

This ruling is important because it shows a growing national acceptance toward open ideas. Though there would be financial benefits in the long run for parties involved, this is the smartest option for consumers, and the most ideal path for free citizens. The Internet should not be restricted, and the FCC recognized the salience of it by maintaining that mindset.

Other countries have tried to regulate the Internet, and have ultimately failed or have succeeded at the risk of losing trust of allies and their own people. Regimes like North Korea recognize the inherent value of free expression and the cultivation of ideas on the Internet, for it has censored access to its citizens.

When the risks of a barred Internet ran high, tech juggernauts Google, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix all led the charge in supporting net neutrality, scrubbing social media up and down for support.

Locally, Denton has found its own supporters for open Internet. Startup groups like TechMill publicly voice their opinions on net neutrality, as an open Internet facilitates the spread of ideas. Recently, a plan to give the Square free Wi-Fi has been put into play, showing the importance and necessity of Internet for all.

District 26 Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), is among the many in support of net neutrality.

“The Internet for decades has been an open frontier for limitless free speech, innovation, creation, business and economic growth and, importantly, immeasurable amount of free information at our fingertips,” Burgess said.

While many in Washington, including President Barack Obama, have supported net neutrality, others are using it for political rhetoric. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in 2014 compared net neutrality to Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act.

“‘Net Neutrality’ is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government,” the Senator tweeted.

The FCC ignored partisan politics, and ruled in favor of a key democratic value – free expression.

The Internet has revolutionized the way the world is run and how we communicate. The very concept of free expression was introduced to people in countries without free speech rights. The inherent relationship between the Internet and free expression is displayed when governments limit access to its citizens.

Had the FCC opined oppositely, expression would have been limited for certain people — and not those with wealthy corporate budgets. Had the FCC ruled against net neutrality, free expression would have been esteemed monetarily, setting a worrisome precedent for the future of open and free expression.

The freedom of the Internet encourages innovative solutions to problems and ideas in a way that cultivates change and catalyzes societal progress by equalizing the global expression, inclining worldwide participation.

If net neutrality is to again take debate – and it surely will – the United States needs to consider Internet access as a utility supported by the First Amendment, and keep the Internet open and free for all, ignoring corporate profit and upholding the American right to free speech.

Featured Image: A net neutrality logo. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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