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Net Neutrality – Internet to change as we know it

By Erica O’Neal

Staff Writer

    Let’s say it’s a typical lunch break at work and you decide to unlock your phone and browse Facebook for your family’s updates. Or maybe you open Google to do a quick search for a burning question you have. Without a second thought, Google search bar pops up and you look for your answer. Your friend messages you through a group message online, and you quickly type out a reply and hit send. You can do that freely for now, that is until December 14.

President Trump appointed former Verizon lawyer, Ajit Pai as the new chairman for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The government agency regulates interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.

As of Tuesday, November 21 Pai placed net neutrality on the table. Net neutrality means that Internet service providers (ISP) should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.

That all will completely change if the FCC votes to repeal net neutrality on Thursday, December 14. ISPs like Comcast and Verizon will be free to block content, slow video-streaming services from rivals and offer “fast lanes” to preferred partners.

“Fast lanes” will be available to those who have the money. “Slow lanes” will have longer load time, or may not allow websites to load at all, effectively censoring what we can access online.

Businesses and individuals who have the money to pay for the “fast lanes” will continue to thrive by giving that money to ISPs who then jack up the prices for accessing the Internet for consumers.

Small startups and businesses will be completely cut out from the online spectrum. No more cheaply advertising online or building websites for free or for very little money.

In order for small businesses to continue, net neutrality needs to continue.

If net neutrality does get killed off, the only rule Pai is setting is that companies have to be transparent in their business regulations and rules. This will not stop companies from deciding to offer, “paid prioritization.” ISPs will be free to choose how they want their consumers to use the Internet. Companies could easily start bundling websites much like cable companies already do with TV channels.

Pai’s final plan that will be voted on December 14 will not ban blocking or throttling. Blocking means an ISP will legally be able to block consumers from certain websites they don’t want you to view. Throttling means that websites and partners that fall in favor of ISPs will get the fast lane of the Internet and load instantly.

For example, with all net neutrality rules gone, ISPs such as Comcast will be able to legally block consumers from searching for service plans from competitive ISPs such as Verizon or AT&T. For another example, ISPs will be able to censor out access to political speech they don’t like and charge fees for website delivery. The four total ISP companies that want net neutrality to end are Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and AT&T.

Republicans hold three out of the five seats at the FCC and Pai expects the plan to pass. The five members of the FCC are Ajit Pai, Mignon Clyburn, Michael O’Rielly, Brendan Carr and Jessica Rosenworcel.

To get your voice heard about net neutrality, please contact our local state Representative, Bishop Jr. Sanford or Senators of the state of Georgia, Johnny Isakson and David Perdue. All representatives can be reached via phone, fax, mail, or email.

Senators – Johnny Isakson

Atlanta Office

One Overton Park

3625 Cumberland Blvd., Suite 970

Atlanta, Georgia 30339

Phone: 770-661-0999

Fax: 770-661-0768

David Perdue

Atlanta Office

191 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 3250

Atlanta, GA 30303

Phone: 404-865-0087

Fax: 404-865-0311

2nd Congressional District

Sanford Bishop, Congressman

Albany Office

235 West Roosevelt Ave.

Albany Towers, Suite 114

Albany, GA 31701

Phone: 229-439-8067

Fax: 229-436-2099

2nd District of the House of Representatives

Buddy Hardin

Atlanta Office

401-B State Capitol

Atlanta, Ga 30334

404.656.7855 – Office