The Vote on Net Neutrality

Dr. Bill Withers

Net neutrality affects many people, including both high school and college students, Dr. Bill Withers said.

On Thursday, Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to eliminate Net Neutrality. Proponents of Net Neutrality are expected to go to court over the FCC’s decision.

K-16 education systems should really be pushing for an open internet, Withers said.

“Imagine a student doing research, but rather than choosing online content germane to the paper they are writing, the student is redirected by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) with financial connections to other web-based,” Withers said.

Net Neutrality kept companies from charging for “fast lane” internet which would be a normal speed. The repeal of net neutrality could also result in blocking certain sites that would normally be free but are now being charged. People could also be blocked from using Facetime or other forms of communication such as texting, regular phone calls and social media sites.

Students who are planning on doing research using search engines could have some of their results, which may be helpful to their paper or project, blocked from their view. Websites such as the Trumpet or other forms of news may even be blocked simply because companies want to block it.

Gale Trimble, a prospective journalism and communication minor, feels very strongly on the subject of keeping the internet open and free.

“Because this world is becoming so oriented around technology, it is very likely my future job will be writing and posting online for my job. If net neutrality is repealed, it will be so much harder for me to first find a job, and secondly to correctly do my job,” Trimble said.

Withers tells his students to “follow the buck”and he believes that this is a perfect example of where financial and regulatory forces are trying to hoard in on what is currently a free exchange of web-based ideas and content.

“We need to learn more about terms like ‘throttling’ and how it might affect us online in the future. There is also concern about whether the Federal Trade Commission has the capacity to regulate all this after the FCC ruling because it will be messy,” Wither said.

Students are encouraged to take action to inform their representatives about why we should keep net neutrality. To participate in lobbying, students can visit Students can also call their representatives or even text them by using Resistbot which allows for students to text their message rather than calling or writing a letter.


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